Swiss Army Man – 5 out of 5
Fart humor can be a sketchy thing for me. When done right, I find it to be hilarious but when done improperly, I find it to be groan-inducing. What’s the right formula for this type of humor? Hell, if I know. It’s just one of those things that when it’s done right you can just feel it. One thing is for certain, it’s rare when a property can redefine the humor that comes from these gaseous releases and that’s one of the things that Swiss Army Man did. It’s not every day that you find a heart-warming, endearing and charming movie about love and friendship that’s filled with a fine dose of butt blasting.
|"There there, dead friend."|
While out in the wilderness, a depressed man named Hank (Paul Dano) decides he’s going to commit suicide. However, before he has a chance to hang himself, he spots a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe) on the shore of a beach. When he examines the body, he learns that it holds special abilities (some fart-based) that will help him survive out in the wild. Soon, through the power of friendship, the body starts to come back to life and declare his name is Manny. Now Hank and Manny are on a course to find their way home and, along the way, learn the price of being alone and the meaning of real friendship.
|Don't be weird-ed out by this pic. It's just a dude making a connection|
with the dead body he found in the woods and became friends with.
When I first heard of Swiss Army Man, I was instantly intrigued with the concept and really wanted to check it out. It felt like one of those original ideas that are too wild for even the gutsiest of production companies to make. However, the concept also had an inherent risk that it could be really awful. This film had to walk a line where if it leaned too far in either direction the whole product could come apart. Amazingly, writers/directors Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan performed the impossible and made some incredibly special and wholly amazing with this one.
|BY THE POWER OF FARTS!!!|
What makes Swiss Army Man work so well is there is a palpable genuine feel to every aspect. The performances are honest and feel real (even with the outrageous premise), the chemistry between the two leads is unmistakable, and the drama, comedy and heart all seem to pour from a place of passion rather than a place of just wanting to produce. Nothing about this production feels phoned-in or farted out (terrible pun totally intended). There’s an undeniable craftsmanship that accompanied every detail of this film and it culminated in a movie that is absolutely hysterical one moment and completely endearing and charming the next.
|Who would have thought that one day the same kid who played Harry Potter|
would one day be a talking and farting corpse in a movie? What a time
to be alive!
Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are both very talented actors and it’s really no surprise that each man did a fantastic job. You would think that Radcliffe would easily stand out more because he had to play corpse and, although he still did a tremendous job, Dano is right there on the same level as him and they play off each other so well that neither looks like they are faltering at all. That’s easily one of the strongest aspects of the film because the natural looking chemistry that these two men share completely lights up the screen and makes their developing friendship so much easier to engage with.
|Also, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was in the film--not to downplay her role|
or anything because she was also great in her limited appearance.
The final element that really made this film sing is how the marriage of humor, heart and drama come together. The two Dans that wrote and directed this film knew the exact amounts of comedy and drama each scene needed and they developed the story at such a skilled and perfect pace that nothing in this film ever feels overwhelming and the plot never drags. Additionally, the blending of everything is done so incredibly well that there are never any jarring changes of tone but rather seamless fades into one other. This movie is like a goddamn painting done by Bob Ross.
|In retrospect, it's a bit dark that this entire charming adventure began with|
a dude trying to commit suicide.
After the whole film was concluded and the credits rolled, I realized there wasn’t one aspect of Swiss Army Man that I didn’t enjoy. Sure, the farting aspect could turn people off (and it famously did at Sundance) but it’s delivered in such a way that that they aren’t your typical fart gags. Combining that with the gorgeous visuals, amazing music, awesome performances and the undeniably charming and beautiful story and I found a movie that entertained me endlessly.