The Darwin Awards

"Good"

The Darwin Awards Review


Poor Finn Taylor can't catch a break. By all reports he's the nicest guy in the world, and he typically toils for three or four years on each indie flick he directs. When they finally hit the screen they flop. His last outing, Cherish, was a bizarre story about a cop falling in love with a girl under house arrest who he's assigned to watch. I guess it wasn't bizarre enough, though. I had to reread my review of it just to fully remember what it was about. Cherish bombed with a $180,000 gross.

Four years later, Taylor drops another oddball flick on us, and the trouble is obvious before frame one. For starters, the name of the movie is The Darwin Awards, which sounds like it's going to be a documentary about those nutty people who kill themselves doing stupid things, thus earning posthumous "Darwin Awards" (as written up in a series of books of the same name) for ridding the gene pool of their DNA.

The plot encapsulating this concept involves an insurance investigator (Winona Ryder) and an incredibly paranoid detective (Joseph Fiennes) who awkwardly investigate a series of such cases together. It's a road movie at its heart. Naturally they have a romance, too. The movie is packed with Darwinesque reenactments, and jammed full of indie favorite actors -- Tim Blake Nelson, Robin Tunney, Juliette Lewis, to name but a few -- not to mention the punch of Fiennes and Ryder as headliners. How could this miss? Well, the powers that be didn't think so: The idea proved so wacky it didn't even merit a theatrical release, as near as I can tell.

The problem is that, much like Cherish, The Darwin Awards tries so very hard but just doesn't manage to be very funny. Sure, there are little moments here and there: Darwin is funnier than Cherish because it turns out it is amusing to watch a woman punch cruise control on an RV and walk away from the wheel or watch David Arquette strap a jet engine to his car and rocket into the sky, smashing into a mountain. A vertible Iwo Jima of cameos are on hand to offer dry commentary on all of this, from Metallica to the Mythbusters.

Alas, it just isn't enough. Fiennes' safety-obsessed profiler is a too-broad caricature, while Ryder's part is far underwritten. The script is just a series of connecting scenes as we go from one Darwin spot to another, held together by what's now become a gratingly unwatchable conceit: A documentary film-within-a-film that is following the action, which we in turn are following too. Darwin could have been vastly improved by dropping this ghastly attempt to give the movie an extra layer which could better have been used on fleshing out its otherwise apt leads.

I know Taylor has a good movie in him, and I'm willing to give him the chance to prove himself, even if I'm 120 years old by the time he gets the job done.



The Darwin Awards

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 5th July 2006

Box Office Worldwide: $309.4 thousand

Production compaines: Blumhouse Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Harvey, as Emile, as Paramedic, as Insurance Exec, as Mrs. Pearlman, as Michael Burrows, as Simon, as Farley, as Henry, as Stan, as Joleen, as Carla, as Perp, as Ad Exec, as Tom, as Siri Taylor

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.