duleaguered (adj.) - the state of being when one realizes their duty has placed upon them an unwanted and extensive burden heightened by a sensation of numbness
ex/ I was duleguered to find that only twenty minutes had passed and still the movie pressed on.
I long for movies that create complex emotions, especially the one's that are so rich that we struggle with ways to define ourselves. Well, I knew exactly what I was feeling watching Brother's Keeper, and it's not the state I would wish on many. It's a strangely homophobic and flat bit of mockumentary nonsense from someone I thought at least knew a little better.
I admit to having a strange liking of Dax Shepard even if he doesn't have any immediately identifiable qualities I can point to and expound upon at great length. He's just one of those actors that appeared onscreen and I felt a sense of identification with, like a version of Dane Cook without the creepy date rape subtext (and horrific filmography) that comes with him.
Apparently the idea for Brother's Keeper came as a result of a Youtube video. This has, now gratefully, gone unseen by myself but given the underabundance of material in the movie that's a frighteningly plausible scenario. Brother's Keeper isn't really a martial arts movie, but a movie about a movie star who wants to be taken seriously as a martial arts performer and nearly derails his career in doing so.
"Wait," I cry combing the back catalogue of Can't Stop the Movies, "this seems absurdly familiar." THat's because the same basic scenario and delivery system was used for the Joaquin Phoenix experiment I'm Still Here. That movie is going to be puzzled over for a while longer than I originally anticipated as it does raise some interesting questions about the nature of celebrity and how "real" our documentaries can be.
Brother's Keeper, by contrast, is a weak one-note joke that everyone is in on from the start and the film doesn't know how to wring anything out of it. The entire cast plays themselves but not even hyperreal versions of themselves, more versions that you'd find half zonked out because of sun poisoning after a long day of pulling weeds. There's zero budget and every dollar is up there on the screen in the faces of celebrities that really want to have a beer.
Dax Shepard spends the movie trying to shed his comedic image and be taken seriously as an action movie star. But since his role model in this regard is Chuck Norris the immediate question comes to mind of "how seriously". Well, seriously enough to appear on the Teen Choice Awards and do kicks in a gi and to get private training from a Judo instructor whom he berates for "touching his balls" and "being gay". These moments are a delight in blatant homophobia, and the ending sequences of the movie finally being made with a heaping dash of homoerotic dialogue aren't helped by this moment.
So we stumble around Hollywood and beyond with Dax, his cameraman, and pitiful producer Nate (Nate Tuck) looking for potential bidders and co-stars. Not a single bit of this is funny. Ashton Kutcher building a pool shaped like a moat is not inherently funny. Jon Favreau unable to direct because he's making Iron Man is not funny and also doubles as a good point. Celebrity after celebrity makes the cameo process in Goldmember seem like Dr. Strangelove. Don't get me wrong, I liked Goldmember, but the well-placed cameo has a bit more to do than just looking at everyone's calendars and bugging the most free people to help.
There's not much else to comment on here. The mockumentary is a cruel mistress. They work because they take their subject matter with a deadly seriousness of the participants (recall the dog owners of Best In Show). Standing in the background containing a half-snigger over some bad karate moves doesn't quite spill out the same level of passion. The gay jokes don't help either.