Movie Review: ‘The Voices’
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, and Anna Kendrick
Plot: A seemingly mild-mannered factory worker receives evil messages from his talking pets.
If there was anyone I thought was in dire need of their own “McConnaissance,” it was Ryan Reynolds. I’m sure many would line up to disagree with me, but between Buried, The Nines, Chaos Theory, Fireflies in the Garden, and a few other lesser seen work there is plenty of potential. I thought Reynolds would be in the middle of one right now. He had set up quite a few projects with auteur filmmakers. Unfortunately, Atom Egoyan’s The Captive failed to compel, and I am afraid The Voices will do the same.
In it, Ryan Reynolds plays Jerry, a naive manchild in a neon pink jumpsuit who works for a tub manufacturer. When he joins the party planning commitee, he sees an opportunity to get close to his office crush, the very sexy Fiona, played by Gemma Arterton. The only thing getting in his way is his good-natured dog with a Southern droll and his evil Scottish cat (both voiced by a nearly unrecognizable Reynolds). As Jerry, Reynolds sheds all the smugness that usually characterizes his comedic performances for a character that is uniquely sincere. It is pretty damn good odd performance from Reynolds that is unfortunately handcuffed to this movie.
All that Reynolds’ smugness doesn’t go wasted though. Much of it appears in the voices of his hilarious pets. These pets drive Reynolds to do terrible things (like killing Fiona and skipping his medication), things that to him seem like simple misunderstandings and karmic misfortune. Just like Reynolds’ performance, it would be so much better if it wasn’t handcuffed to this movie.
This might be a little SPOILERY, so ye be warned. The whole movie is filtered through Reynolds’ psychosis. This filter accounts for the soft Easter coloring and occasional Looney Tunes like gags. These affectations rob the movie of its tension and leaves it with not enough comedy to hold the whole movie up. It is a sad fact because the concept probably sounded great on paper (still kind of does), but something was lost in translation on its way to the cinema.
It is actually a pretty cool flick, but it seems to go out of its way to create obstacles in the way of the audience’s acceptance. It has so many good ideas and a lot going for it. It just needed to be assembled a little better.