Adam McKay, David Sirota
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill
Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi
Rated: Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content, graphic nudity and drug content.
After discovering a world destroying meteor that is heading for a direct collision with Earth, student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), and her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) have to alert the world about the coming doom. But that task seems impossible when they get the runaround from President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her cabinet, morning shows and newspapers that just don’t seem bothered by this information. With only 6 months to find a way to save Earth, can Kate and Randall be able to wake up enough people in time? This dark comedy by Adam McKay is both hilarious and ironically depressing, as he turns a mirror at how the world has reacted to the pandemic, and possibly future catastrophes.
The irony in this story is how much it parallels what’s happening now, and there’s no doubt that’s intentional. Adam McKay is no stranger to covering hot button topics and political dramas done in a witty comedic tone, and with this there is much more comedy than in his previous work since ‘The Big Short’. I appreciate him leaning more into his comedic sensibilities from the ‘Step Brothers’ age and it works brilliantly with these characters.
The entire ensemble does a tremendous job and this should be nominated for best ensemble cast. Both DiCaprio and Lawrence, as well as Rob Morgan are a perfect pairing that echo Bo Burnham in their cries of “What the F*** Is going On” and you feel both their frustration and sense of urgency in every scene. It’s a stroke of genius in casting Streep as the President, as well as her son being played by Jonah Hill. Mark Rylance plays a Elon Musk-like character and is as always brilliant. Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry as the new hosts being oblivious and trying to keep tension and any negativity out of a literally report of the apocalypse is hilarious.
To be fair, a lot of themes are rehashed over and over in the film. It almost feels like a Seth Rogan film done in Adam McKays style, and if you were looking for a more sophisticated take you won’t find that here. If an audience member is on the wrong side of the jokes however, it’s hard to say they’ll enjoy the humor. To be honest it’s tough because if any people should watch this movie to see how crazy they are, it’s the ones who won’t watch it. Kind of a double-edged sword and all depends on if you are willing to take a joke or not.
Overall, ‘Don’t Look Up’ is ‘Idiocracy’ for disaster films. A film that is able to very accurately reflect the times we are in and bring a situation that we can then see the craziness of our own. It’s funny, witty, and one to watch this awards season and I would recommend checking it out.