4 tech score
“Landline” (Amazon Pictures)
“Landline” is a movie about the “90’s. It was a time of sex, drugs and rock and roll according to this movie’s point of view. High school kids were having sex, doing drugs, and their totally inept parents were just along for the ride. Having set up this premise the movie becomes a one note ode to this way of life and stretches it out for the running time of the film.
Jenny Slate is the “star” of the movie as Dana. Her parents are played by John Turturro and Edie Falco with Abby Quinn featured as her high school senior sister Ali. Dana is engaged to a low key guy named Ben (Jay Duplass) but she is having second thoughts about a life with him – forever! The iffiness of this is highlighted when she learns through Ali that their dad is cheating on their mom.
To muse about their parents’ situation, the two sisters have a weekend at their parents upstate cottage where they bond through more drugs and some secrets revelations. Dana confesses she has had a fling with Nate (Finn Wittrock), a guy she has known for years. She can’t however explain why. And that is the problem with the movie. None of the characters can explain why they act in the ridiculously emotionally dangerous ways they do. Oh there are explanations offered but they do not hold water.
Jenny Slate is an actress who can be charming if the role requires it, but she can also be annoying and irritating even if the role doesn’t require it. In this film Dana is so clueless as to what her life should be and in her efforts to understand it all that she grates on the audience’s nerves one scene after another.
Abby Quinn also fails in her performance. She should be able to make Ali a person we want to protect. This is a young girl who has two parents who know nothing about raising children and Ali is forming a shell of casual sex and drug use that is becoming more and more intense. Quinn makes her remote and uncaring. She doesn’t seem to care about herself and so we in turn don’t care about her.
Director Gillian Robespierre seems to have chosen this cold approach to the story as a way to make an imprint. And in a sense she is correct. We do have vivid images and thoughts about each member of this family, but they are all negative. It is a family circle crumbling inward. and that is not a pretty sight to watch.
The cast is talented but they have all been led in the wrong direction. There is never a place where the audience can grab on to a real emotion and let it grow. Some awkward word or action is always there to shut it down.
The movie is rated R for profanity and sexual situations.
“Landline” is a look back at the mid 90’s. From the vantage point of this story it is all bleak .
I scored “Landline” a disconnected 4 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper