Sundance 2019 – Corporate Animals

For about the first 20 minutes of this I was worried I’d make a mistake. The jokes weren’t hitting, the characters weren’t doing anything at all with their stereotypes, the filmmaking was lazy. It just wasn’t funny. But don’t worry, it got there. Patrick Brice is a filmmaker I trust too much to have him leave me in the desert like he does his characters here. Lucy (Demi Moore) is the CEO of Incredible Edibles, an edible cutlery company that is secretly failing. She takes her staff on a team-building trip to go caving in the New Mexico desert. A cavein occurs, leaving them trapped inside with no way out. Comedy ensues.

The cast is good, though not all hit their marks as much as you’d like them to. Some never quite do anything fun with their stereotypes, and the editing can’t save their lack of comedic timing and delivery. Isiah Whitlock Jr. is killing just about every line he has. Dude is just balling out, dunking all over everybody in each scene with his impeccable comedic timing and line reading. I laughed the hardest whenever he spoke.

It has wonderful comedic premises, setups and ideas that are just not always delivered upon as well as you’d like. An assortment of taboos are served – cannibalism, workplace sexual harassment (it doesn’t earn these jokes, they’re cheap), murder and jacking off. Not all are as There’s an extended visual gag of a character miming masturbation, and that shit got me just about every time. I know, I have eclectic comedic taste.

It almost brings to mind a lesser, long episode of Veep with its characters full of greed and empty on morals, though Corporate Animals lacks the comedic fluidity and razor-sharp wit of its cruelty the characters have towards each other. You almost wish Selina Kyle would show up and demonstrate how it’s done.

I don’t want it to sound like I hate this film, I don’t, I just recognize it could have been more. I really like Patrick Brice as a filmmaker, though I wouldn’t put this film as the one to make your judgments of him on. His Creep films are some of the best found footage filmmaking you’ll see, and The Overnight is a riot. It’s already better than half the films I’ve seen so far at the festival though, and my dad enjoyed it too so it was nice to share some of the Sundance experience with him. We both laughed, and sometimes that’s enough.

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