American Ultra
2015
Mike Howell's indolent life as a small-town stoner is abruptly upended when he comes to realize that he's a trained sleeper agent for a foreign foe -- and that U.S. government operatives have marked him for death.

Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

This premise lends itself to broad stoner humor and predictable punchlines, but this comedy insists on treating its main charaters like realistic human beings as much as possible under the circumstances, which is a weird choice given how very unrealistic the circumstances are. Maybe the problem is the casting of overly serious actors? What I'm getting at is, there are jokes in the movie and I laughed quite a bit, but they're not cut from the usual pothead-humor cloth, and they don't come at all where you expect them. In fact, the first act of this movie, which should be full of comedy before the action revs up and there's less time to joke around, is basically a sad and moody little story about how this guy feels like a loser. I give the movie credit for being different, I guess. And despite its disrespect for physics (the frying pan shot? come on), the movie is strangely graphic with its action violence, as if we wanted to see realistic bullet wounds and bodily carnage in our stoner comedy. This movie deserves an Oscar nomination for make-up for so thoroughly making its two leads look bloodied and beaten-up by the end. I liked this odd little movie, but I can't quite recommend it.

− August 22, 2015 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Scott Hardie: How often must Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera run into each other at auditions for the same parts? Eisenberg is a few years older; otherwise they're practically the same man. − August 22, 2015 • more by Scott

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