An Actor Prepares (2018) Poster

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Misfire on the road
TheLittleSongbird5 March 2019
Have always had high appreciation for comedy, in fact some of my favourites are comedies, so that 'An Actor Prepares' didn't do it for me is not down to bias against the genre. Always have tried to like all types of it too, tending to love the witty and sophisticated types but less so ones with the crude style of humour (though that is not to say that crude humour is never funny). My main reason though for seeing this film was Jeremy Irons.

Have always loved him as an actor, if more his 80s and 90s work than his variable post-'Lolita' career choices (though he is most of the time a bright spot in the misses), and it interested me to see him in a different role. Seeing it on Amazon, 'An Actor Prepares' was nowhere near as bad as feared, having had initially fairly high expectations lowered by hearing and seeing bad things about it but a large part of me was disappointed and yes this is me judging with an open mind with the intention of liking it and not agreeing with the negativity. Looking at 'An Actor Prepares', one would never think that it starred an actor responsible for two of the most courageous film performances in the past forty or so years, in 'Dead Ringers', with the subject and playing identical twins and giving them individual personalities to each other, and 'Lolita', with the subject and his more tortured portrayal of a character one would naturally think on paper detestable. Also thought his performance in 'Reversal of Fortune' brave, playing a real life person, still alive at the time, in a film depicting a case that was recent back when it was made when feelings were still raw. Lets talk about this film though.

Irons clearly has a blast here, as a very larger than life but rather obnoxious character, and is great fun to watch. He is the best thing about the film and the only reason really to check it out in the first place, relishing every single line with glee while effortlessly commanding the screen. It may not be a subtle performance but really did appreciate that he made such a valiant effort in breaking away from his serious roles and show his comedic streak, which to me was obvious here but needed better material to make it shine more. Jack Huston also does well, showing some natural charisma and portraying Adam's uptightness with conviction, and interacts with and reacts to Irons easy-goingly, the dynamic natural despite such a character mismatch.

A few mildly amusing moments along the way here and there, did have a (guilty) chuckle at a few lines and those film titles, though it was more to do with how Irons delivered the lines rather than the lines themselves. The film doesn't look too cheap and there are catchy moments on the soundtrack.

One of 'An Actor Prepares' biggest problems however is that most of it is not very funny, spent most of the time actually being shocked at how a father could speak to his own son the way Atticus does. Crude humour can be funny if done with wit and sharpness, but 'An Actor Prepares' executes this crude humour with very little wit and goes well overboard on the mean-spiritedness that it becomes as exhausting as Atticus' obnoxious character traits, including gratuitous overuse of profanity. It never becomes 'Freddy Got Fingered' and Friedberg-Seltzer offensive thank goodness, but parts do leave a bitter aftertaste. The characters all lack depth and subtlety, including Atticus (well especially him in the subtlety department), and found it very hard to endear to any of them with such off-putting behaviour. Didn't find all of them necessary either. Am not blaming the actors, it's the writing that's the problem. None of the rest of the cast make much of an impression (though Ben Schwartz does what he can with a thankless reactive role), with so little to do and with characters so underwritten. While the soundtrack is nice enough on its own, some of its use felt intrusive and obvious.

Direction is not incompetent as such but is rather uninspired and bland. The story is a big problem in 'An Actor Prepares' too. In terms of pacing, it never comes to life and is often rather leaden and slow with a real lack of energy, this would have been helped if the film got going much quicker, shortened some scenes and left others out, for instance it could have done without the sequence with Will Patton which added nothing and came over as awkward. The story is one that's very thin with the outcome being very much foreseeable from the get go. It all feels rather formulaic and sometimes somewhat repetitive, with a lot of mean-spiritedness (did find myself cringing during the prison cell scene), scenes that are very awkward and predictable due to a lack of anything surprising and too many moments where things happen too conveniently. In the last twenty minutes or so, 'An Actor Prepares' tries to tug at the heart strings by trying to bring a dramatic emotional edge, but it felt forced rather than poignant or heart-warming and jarred too much with what had come before. Likewise with Adam's subplot, which felt shoe-horned in and on the somewhat manipulative side, it is a serious and quite sensitive subject yet one starts expecting with worry the film to treat it in a jokey way. Luckily it never quite does but there is that worry, considering how much of the humour in the early parts were related to that particular body part.

On the whole, has its moments but it didn't do it for me even when really trying to take it for what it is. Irons doesn't fare badly at all here, he is the best thing about it and the main interest point, but he is well above this and comparing this to his early work (so 'Lolita' and before) it is rather sad that a great actor's film/television choices have become so hit and miss in recent years. Am well aware that this review is not going to be very popular most likely, seeing as anybody here who as much as one criticism when offering a negative review for a critically panned comedy is made to feel like they've committed a sin by too many of those defending which has gotten over-the-top and annoying. 4/10
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Funny And Original
mattsandifer3 October 2018
Instead of the usual tale of a father and his estranged son reconnecting with one another on a road trip, An Actor Prepares shows an entirely believable father unwilling to relinquish his debauchery (and its repurcussions) and a son's journey to come to terms with it. This movie is funny, original, and compelling.
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Made me laugh
ronancraven9 January 2019
I don't review much as i'm too lazy. I mostly rate surprises. This film surprised me because of its low score. Jeremy Irons and the cast did a great job. Had me laughing and enjoying the film from start to finish. This film deserves a much higher score. I'm an imdb member over 10 years with less than 10 reviews so this is a 100% genuine review. Watch this feel good comedy if you wants laughs and more...
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Only Irons is having a good time here
Prismark1018 June 2019
In the #MeToo era of Hollywood's misogyny. An Actor Prepares would count as a prime exhibit.

Jeremy Irons plays Atticus Smith a hard living and hard drinking Oscar winning actor who has a heart attack while receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Unable to fly he has to drive cross country to attend his daughter's wedding. He is accompanied reluctantly by his estranged son Adam, an uptight feminist lecturer and documentary maker who seems to have a few problems of his own.

Smith is preparing to play god for his next role. Despite his health scare he is not prepared to give up his boozy lecherous lifestyle as he hits the road. He also regards Adam as a snitch who told his mom that dad was cheating on her.

Irons is having a ball playing the philandering Smith and he is certainly waves his balls about in front of his son as the viewer gets to see plenty of his rear.

Unfortunately Irons is the only person having fun in this movie. It is an unfunny road comedy with tired cliched characters.
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yuliavasilek7 September 2018
Great movie, great cast, great script! Hilarious and full of depth film!
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Predictable but it works
drjgardner13 March 2019
This is a road show between father and son and you can pretty much guess what happens. That being said, it's the journey that works, and the acting is great throughout.
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Good grief, what was Jeremy Irons thinking?
sinimannerstuff3 February 2019
What on earth was Jeremy Irons thinking!? Very lowest-common-denominator stuff here for those with scant understanding of humour. Grumpy gleefully obnoxious father and uptight son are forced on a road can see the formulaic story arc from the start. Sky Movies gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars - not a very discerning customer base I'm learning. A half hour down and an hour to go. Give it a miss folks.
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Don't waste your time
lp-222-1394318 August 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Don't waste your time a very silly and corny movie.
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The worst 15 minutes of my life. Very disappointing.
les-sherman26 March 2019
Could not get past the set-up. The language was worse than "crude" and profane. I know Michael Caine said every day at work can't be Gone with the Wind, but this film should never have even been made. Not sure what movie the other reviewers were watching.
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A cross country drive
Gordon-115 May 2020
This film tells the cross country drive of an estranged father and son. It is entertaining because it is witty and unexpected. The main character is not particularly likable, but viewers get to like him in the end.
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fbrander14 September 2019
One of the worst movies I have ever viewed. I cannot believe I endured this thrash.
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Why all the bad review!?
lazarowww18 April 2020
I've just saw it on TV with my girlfriend and her sister. We all have a good laugh. OK it's not a masterpiece but is a pretty decent film and both main actors are doing a great job. 7.5 out of 10 in my opinion and much, much better than most of the nowadays comedies.
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