Special Correspondents

It looks promising on paper: two radio station journalists get locked out of a big story in Ecuador so they decide to make it up instead. Eric Bana plays images73W735HWFrank, the dashing and charismatic reporter while Ricky Gervais plays his lackey, Finch. Finch is a clumsy and oblivious guy with a beautiful but disloyal wife (Vera Farmiga) whose ineptitude causes he and Frank to miss their career-making flight to Ecuador just as a war is breaking out.

Unable or unwilling to admit their mistake, the two men decide to hole up in New York City and broadcast fake reports convincingly doctored via satellite phone. Somehow neither anticipates that this will get out of hand, even when a sweet colleague (Kelly MacDonald) worries over the increasing threat to their safety. Do things snowball? Yes, yes they do.

Ricky Gervais adapted the script from an existing French movie (Envoyes tres speciaux). Nobody skewers celebrities quite like Gervais, his stand-up is

Special Correspondents

tightly written and expertly delivered, and he’s got so many successful TV shows that IMDB stopped counting . Movies, however, seem not to be his forte. There were moments during Special Correspondents when I thought: “Niiiiiiice.” but those turned out to be little desert islands in a huge sea of disappointment.

The premise is teeming with satire potential but the movie is devoid of Special1anything intelligent or funny or worthwhile or clever. It’s flimsy. Like, paper-thin. And the characters are so one-dimensional that while we can’t really believe that there is not one but two Hottie McHottersons willing to bed Finch, we also don’t really care. This feels lazy and phoned-in and at times it also looks downright cheap, and I don’t just mean that it was filmed in pretend-NY Toronto (although it was. Sidebar: Gervais’s father is Ontario-born and French-Canadian).

The cast is fairly impressive but the poor script and direction make sure there are no stand-outs (and to be honest, I’m still wondering if the stuff with America Ferrera was just really weird and unnecessary or if it was as downright racist as it felt). In the end, Special Correspondents isn’t even a satisfying way to pass the time. If you’re looking for something decent to watch on Netflix, look elsewhere – perhaps to Grace & Frankie, a series that actually does have something to say, and lands laughs while doing it.

 

 

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30 thoughts on “Special Correspondents

  1. Jane Lurie

    I just finished the second season of Grace and Frankie and thought it was well acted, smart and very funny. I hope I can only hope to look that good when I reach their age… 🙂

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      1. Jane Lurie

        The final second season show was priceless. She was especially good. I should have done more Jane Fonda workout tapes back in the day. 🙂

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  2. drhumpp

    That’s disappointing. It does sound like a great premise.

    On the plus side, “shits and/or giggles” is the best category on wordpress. Hopefully all those who google that will be brought to you.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. jameshaseltine

      Comment cut short – it was alright. Does a good job with the fairly limited budget and distribution. It’s too soon to start expecting great things from the Netflix movie studio but maybe one day we’ll get the next Back to the Future. With Adam Sandler contracted for a few more movies that time is some way off still

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    1. Jay Post author

      I might have preferred it if he was mean. He does seem to go one of two ways: mean or sniveling. this time it was sniveling. You just couldn’t believe that such a pathetic guy would be worth anyone’s time, and he wasn’t worth mine.

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  3. John Charet

    Great post 🙂 DId you see that comedy A Hologram for the King with Tom Hanks recently where he plays someone who visits the Middle East? I saw it and it was great 🙂 Here is an interesting bit of trivia for you: it was directed by the same guy who did Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer). Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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    1. Jay Post author

      I did see it! I saw it at the Tribeca Film Festival the night before we saw Tom Hanks in person!
      I love the book (and its author) so of course we had to check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Ray Dawson

    Thanks for the review. That is a bummer, I was pretty excited for this one. I’ll still probably watch it but I’ll go into it with more reasonable expectations.

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