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

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

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.