You'll like Judge Adam Riske, because he's not angry.
An angry man is about to become angrier.
I went into The Angriest Man in Brooklyn with some guarded optimism. Director Phil Alden Robinson has a decent, if short filmography as the man behind Field of Dreams, Sneakers, and The Sum of All Fears. Plus, Robin Williams is often solid in dark comedies such as World's Greatest Dad. Unfortunately their collaboration here lacks the polish of Robinson's previous work and the wickedly biting satire of some of the Williams' high points. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn has a nicely felt message with something worthwhile to say about living your life to the fullest, but it doesn't add up to a funny or memorable movie.
Facts of the Case
A perpetually angry man, Henry Altman, (Robin Williams, The Fisher King) learns from his doctor (Mila Kunis, That '70s Show) that he has a brain aneurysm and only 90 minutes left to live. Henry decides to make amends with his wife (Melissa Leo, The Fighter), his brother (Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones) and his son as the clock winds down.
There is not much reason to seek out The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, but you could do much worse if you decide to watch it. I once asked if there was a name for a comedy where you never laugh and yet you are still reasonably entertained. This movie would fit right into that category.
There is a lot of talent on hand, with strong performers such as Robin Williams, Peter Dinklage (whom you never spot being bad in a movie even if the movie is not very good), and Melissa Leo, and they all turn in solid if not side-splitting work here. In fact, this "comedy" seems to need to remind itself that it's a comedy in each scene with the sequences often ending in people yelling or cursing for no reason other than they suddenly remember the title of the movie and that they are supposed to be angry.
So even if it doesn't work as a comedy, I will give the movie some credit in its message. The central conceit of The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is "What would you do if you realized you had only 90 minutes left to live?" This is an interesting question and can cause us viewers to think about our lives and other issues. This is one of the best things a movie can do and the movie deserves credit for that. It also exudes kindness, especially in its last act where the focus is on what we can do as people to make ourselves and others a little happier. Unfortunately, despite those positive elements, what I'm left remembering most is that this movie is flat and dull.
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is unimpressive at best. The film looks cheap to begin with, which is emphasized by a soft focus and shoddy detail. Occasionally, when you watch a Blu-ray, you'll go back to watch the DVD and notice a huge gap in quality. This DVD is one of those cases where the older format provides an unsatisfactory transfer. The Dolby 5.1 Surround track is also underwhelming, with dialogue often difficult to hear and nothing else to emphasize other than the occasional cue of the film's musical score.
The sparse bonus features include a brief featurette which covers the development of the movie (it was based on an Israeli film) and then curiously spoils the entire feature in about six minutes. The other extra is a two minute gag reel, which is not very funny. We also get a digital copy, for those who want to take it on the go.
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn has all the earmarks of a movie that has been shelved for a long time (including the use of flip phones). It feels sitcomy and indecisive on the tone it wishes to strike. The movie doesn't work as a black comedy or a heartfelt drama, despite the best efforts of a game cast. The result is a watchable yet disappointing effort from the usually solid director Phil Alden Robinson.
Everyone's heart is in the right place, but the movie doesn't work.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Review content copyright © 2014 Adam Riske; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.