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Monday, April 13, 2015

TRUE STORY, Starring James Franco and Jonah Hill, is Pretty Much Dead on Arrival



It has reluctantly come to my realization that James Franco has become a shocking parody of himself, so much so that I can't even take him seriously in dramatic roles anymore (which pains me to say because I always felt like I was his last surviving fan). But now I feel like I don't know if he's trying to be funny, actually trying not to laugh or whether it is in fact supposed to be a comedy that I am watching. Weeks after I've seen his new movie, TRUE STORY co-starring Jonah Hill, the answer is still unclear (on all fronts).



It's never good when you leave a film and completely forget you've seen in not even five minutes later. That's how it was with this movie. It just kinda...happened. Franco phoned in a meager portrayal of a con artist/accused murderer Christian Longo, who might just be an interesting character in real life but certainly not in this film. Perhaps more accurately, it is Christian who is playing Franco as the actor never quite gets a grip on who this character is. There are several times when Franco clearly slips out of character in a scene with Hill in which they both actually look like they're going to just start reciting lines from This is the End. Hill is on the one side playing disgraced journalist Michael Finkel, convincingly desperate to pen Christian's story, and across the table is Franco, struggling to find a single genuine emotion despite portraying a man accused of murdering his wife and three kids. Seriously, WTF is this?



Director Rupert Goold, who also adapted the screenplay from Finkel's own memoir, tries to create a fuller story that actually draws the audience in with suspense and its "who's playing who?" intrigue. But actually doesn't. Between the empty tête-à-têtes with Christian and Michael and the meaningless scenes with Michael running around trying to pick up the pieces of his ruined reputation, TRUE STORY just never feels like it gets anywhere. And Goold's lame attempt to give Felicity Jones (who plays Hill's concerned wife) something to do at the tail end of the film just seems like a tacked-on effort to add gravitas when the film had already fallen over a cliff.

This movie is just an anomaly in the worst way.

Rating: D (** out of *****)

TRUE STORY is in select theaters April 17. Watch the trailer below:

3 comments:

Fisti said...

LOL, it really is DOA since I forgot it was even coming out/came out/being talked about. Poor Franco. He's become such a joke.

Brittani Burnham said...

Noooo I want to see this so badly! It's not supposed to suck! lol

Alex Withrow said...

Ahh bummer. This one did look like it could do either way, but I was still holding out hopes that it would be somewhat good. Damn shame.

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