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Arizona (2018) - Movie Review

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Arizona (2018) - Movie Review

2 stars

Arizona is about a man on the edge.  Set during the most recent housing market crash, this horror comedy  features Danny McBride as a pissed off victim of the subprime mortgage crisis.  Anyone expecting social commentary; however, will be disappointed.  Oh, there are opportunities to do so, yes, but the film goes for the jugular instead and just slays any chance to provide one.  This is a slasher flick through and through.

The film spends its black comedy coins early on.  In fact, the opening – in which a realtor tries to save a man from hanging himself from his ceiling fan – is probably as comically dark as the flick gets.  The man comes down before he is dead, but then the ceiling fan falls on his head, smashing his nose and face and then he simply begs for her to kill him.  It is hysterical, the turn of events here, but the film quickly just becomes sad as a real estate agent, Cassie (Rosemarie DeWitt), heads to her own haphazardly purchased home and life, which is also a mess.

 

"A funny thing happens on the way to the closing credits. The laughter stops."


 

We feel bad.  We are about to feel a whole lot worse.  For about 90-minutes, Arizona sends the message to get comfortable with some comedic turns from McBride but, with each new scene to build on its suspense, we feel less and less at home.  Arizona, as a film, doesn’t want us sticking around for long.

In this situation, it seems both the seller and the buyer are the victims of a poisoned system.  And everyone but those at the top are paying for financial worry. 

Cassie’s successful ex-husband (Luke Wilson), driving around in a classy BMW, seems to care enough about her, but – when he drops off their teenage daughter Kelsey (Elizabeth Gillies) – it becomes clear that he is only in it for his daughter, the patronizing is strong with this rich asshole.  And his sexy new girlfriend doesn’t help Cassie feel any better about herself either.

But none of that matches what Sonny (McBride) is going through.  His mortgage is strangling him and so, with nowhere else to go, he heads to the realtor’s office where he confronts Cassie’s annoying boss (Seth Rogan) with all the lies he told him about the market.  Their heated conversation turns upside down quickly and Sonny inadvertently kills him.  It might have been accidental, but Sonny’s response to the murder is to kill and kill again.

And, with Cassie as a witness, he goes into self-preservation mode, weaving an icky, sticky web of death and destruction, all the while proclaiming that he is not a bad guy.  Well, he is and his unstable side comes slipping out all too soon.  Soon enough, what we originally laughed at in the beginning just turns sad at the end.  Even the “Bad Bitch” hummer he “borrows” from his dead ex-wife feels accidental, as if the editor discovered some B-roll footage of McBride driving the blazing yellow vehicle.

Arizona (2018) - Movie Review

The film largely seems without clear purpose.  A funny thing happens on the way to the closing credits.  The laughter stops.  The black comedy was always going to be uneven but, truly, the comedy factor just dies as we realize that Sonny is going to kill everyone and anyone it takes to get his ass safely to Mexico.  Somewhere along the line, director Jonathan Watson and screenwriter Luke Del Tredici lose the balance and allow the film to descend all the way into horror.  There are a few memorable bits, but nothing compares to the balance established early on. 

As the laughter fades and the kills increase – some of them very brutal – there is a violent overpowering that we witness.  A gun to the head shakes us and we discover that this shit, is deadly serious.  The skull blasts soon overpower the performances from David Alan Grier and Kaitlin Olson as one of Sonny’s ex-wives and the message is lost.

I love black comedies so it is with a heavy heart that I recommend you get out of Arizona as quickly as you can.  It might just save your life.

Arizona (2018) - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
85 mins
Director
: Jonathan Watson
Writer:
Luke Del Tredici
Cast:
Elizabeth Gillies, Kaitlin Olson, Danny McBride
Genre
: Comedy | Thriller
Tagline:
The heat is on. But it's a dry heat.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You say whatever you gotta say to close the deal, don't you?"
Theatrical Distributor:
RLJ Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 24, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Set in the midst of the 2009 housing crisis, Arizona is a darkly comedic story that follows Cassie Fowler, a single mom and struggling realtor whose life goes off the rails when she witnesses a murder.

Arizona (2018) - Movie Review

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Arizona (2018) - Movie Review

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