Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
It's easy enough when assessing the work of a neophyte filmmaker to point the finger of blame; easy enough to second guess, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, what the intentions were. First-time filmmakers (or "paid amateurs," if you will) can sometimes be forgiven their tell-tale excesses (on the theory that they really didn't know what they were doing, though many of them have graduated from film school these days and certainly SHOULD know better).
In this case, blame must be laid with the WRITERS. There are four credited here, which is almost never a good sign. Four different directions in which the film might go, and, in this one, that's the crux of the problem: one can't distinguish between the comedy, the drama, or the mix because the director- who happens to be one of the writers- doesn't have a firm grip on things. (And why is Curtis Armstrong- who played "Booger" in the REVENGE OF THE NERDS movies- wasted in a brief cameo? His part is only marginally significant, and could've been handled by a no-doubt less expensive newcomer. Familiar faces turn up throughout this movie, briefly, and fall by the wayside, as it were. The string of cameos are notable only for their brevity. Were the filmmakers demonstrating some misplaced largesse?) Storywise, there are gaping plot holes large enough to drive a truck through (logic never rears its ugly head), there are nonsensical, inappropriate comments (and two-bit witticisms and cheapjack philosophy) from out of left field throughout that leave one scratching one's head in confusion (inane banalities abound). See the movie for the performance of newcomer Neil Mather, who steals the show, but don't expect a whole lot else for your money.
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