“The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” has to be the most tonally confused film I’ve seen in the last couple of years. In its attempt to tell the story of Henry Altmann (Robin Williams), a man who is told by his doctor (Mila Kunis) that he has 90 minutes to live due to a brain aneurism, it snaps back and forth so many times between trying to be sentimental and comedic that the audience could very likely end up with whiplash. Delving a little deeper into the plot, we learn very early on that Henry is, well, angry, as the title very clearly suggests, but he’s not just angry about one thing in particular. It seems like every little thing agitates him in one way or another, so when a doctor filling in for his regular practitioner tries to tell him about his condition, he goes off, leading the doctor to make up a number as to how long he has. So begins the typical fast attempt to reconcile all of the loose threads in his life, including a wife (Melissa Leo) that he hasn’t made love to in years and a son (Hamish Linklater) that went to dance school instead of following in his father’s footsteps.
From this, you can probably tell where its next major issue lies. How many times have we seen this story before? I would guess at least a dozen. Even “The Simpsons” covered similar territory over 20 years ago. Perhaps we haven’t seen it with Robin Williams yelling and being an ass to nearly everyone he meets, but that’s not something that works in the film’s favor either. Williams is usually an absolute delight to see in just about any project he’s in, but here, his talents are completely wasted on a very shallow, one-note character. The rest of the cast, which includes Peter Dinklage as Henry’s brother, Mila Kunis as his doctor, and Melissa Leo as his wife, all do an admirable job, but they simply can’t overcome this extremely clichéd material. By the end of the film, there just isn’t any reason to care whether Henry lives or not, with his one-note jerkiness being one of the main components of this result. For all its sentimental attempts at drama, particularly in the last 15 minutes, “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” is more than likely to leave audiences irritated at the thought of having wasted 80 minutes on it.
“The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” arrives on Blu-ray in a 1.78:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. Viewers are treated to a crystal clear image throughout the presentation that features no sign of fuzziness or grain. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is a little soft, but otherwise exceptional, presenting all sounds in a very lucid manner. Overall, both areas are top notch, giving you just about the best quality possible.
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn: Behind the Rage: A brief, six-minute featurette that features interviews with the cast and crew. It’s another one of those “short and superficial” looks behind the scenes, so it’s not particularly worth watching.
Gag Reel: About three minutes of outtakes that aren’t particularly amusing, so it’s easily skippable.
“The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” is a film that’s never sure which way it wants to lean, leading to a very confused tone for a movie that has nothing original to offer in its cliché-filled storyline. Pretty much all that the film has going for it are some decent supporting performances from Kunis, Dinklage, and Leo, who try their best, but are ultimately unable to overcome the faulty foundation of the screenplay. It should have been abundantly clear from the start that such an overused premise was going to need a unique spin on it in order to make it seem fresh again, but sadly the filmmakers opted for just about as straightforward an approach as possible, turning their work into an easily-forgotten retread.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.
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