Overview: A bitter, middle-aged man scrambles to make amends with his friends and family after he is told he only has 90 minutes to live. 2014; Lionsgate; rated R; 83 minutes.
Star Studded: On the surface, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn has all the ingredients for a potentially engaging, heartwarming dramedy. With a supporting cast that includes Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage (who in my eyes can do no wrong), and Melissa Leo backing up a storyline that should give Robin Williams the freedom he needs to do what he does best, I fully expected to have plenty of material to boast about this movie. Sadly, that assumption was a mistake. I’ve never seen such terrific actors with such little room to act. In just shy of an hour and a half, Phil Alden Robinson managed to make Kunis stiff and unappealing, Dinklage practically expressionless, and Williams, well, just plain angry. Mila Kunis is particularly unsympathetic as Sharon Gill, an exasperated and dejected doctor who no longer sympathizes with her patients. We’re given insufficient motivation for her behavior, and she is completely devoid of the charm she usually brings to the table. Although many people are rightfully bored with Robin Williams’ typical erratic, rambling antics – I’m a loyal fan, especially of his stand up comedy. As Henry Altmann, a man who discovers he’s dying and makes a frantic attempt to repair burned bridges, Williams should have plenty of room to stretch his improvisational wings, but his performance is completely one dimensional. He remains a stereotypical bitter man throughout the entire run time, even in the moments that could have easily provided opportunity for more depth and character development.
Predictability: Everything happens in this movie exactly the way you would expect it to. Estranged son? Check. Neglected wife? Check. Failed suicide attempt? Check. A weirdly dysfunctional, forced budding friendship between Williams and Kunis? Check and Check. Each canned plot device comes off as forced and mechanical with zero surprises or touching moments. The comedy is not enough to make you laugh and the drama lacks the engagement to elicit any emotional connection, which results in total apathy over Altmann’s fate. Detached, matter-of-fact narration, recited by Kunis and Williams and scattered through the film, creates even more of a distance between the viewer and the characters, sealing the deal on a movie that completely wastes the potential of its plot and cast.