August 4, 2014

Movie Review: Get On Up **

The biopic of James Brown is, if you can imagine it, kind of boring. Other than the wild wigs and temper tantrums it's just a bunch of vignettes from different periods in his life which are supposed to show us who he was but ultimately the script doesn't dig very deeply, just preaches at us about what a genius he was, and what an asshole, all at the same time. It should be an emotionally gripping story. Unfortunately it's not.
The story moves back and forth in time in a confusing and annoying way, sometimes with a title and date across the screen, other times with his hairstyle being the only clue to where we are in the film.
Apparently he was a wife beater but that comes out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly. And were those kids all his and when did that happen? It's possible I fell asleep.
Chadwick Boseman is purely awful in the part, his ever-present grin (except when he's abusing people or firing his band) passing for emotion. He's on the edge of the character, doesn't seem all that interested so why should I be? Or maybe he's trying too hard. Either way, it didn't work for me.
Dan Ackroyd, as his manager or financial guy or whoever the hell he is (I didn't care) plays the role as if he's just come out of Acting 101, and Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are wasted here.
There's a device that's used occasionally throughout the film where the character looks at, or talks to, the camera, which is annoying and kind of shtick-y, for no purpose.
Awful. I didn't leave but I can't say why not.
Two stars out of five for Get On Up.

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