7 Days in Hell Jul 28, 2016 23:41:03 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 28, 2016 23:41:03 GMT -5
7 Days in Hell (2015)
Directed by: Jake Szymanski
Directed by: Jake Szymanski
Kit Harington and Andy Samberg.
7 Days in Hell is an unbelievably bad short film, saved by one of its sole benefits as a project in that it's only forty-three minutes, as enduring a feature-length film around this subject matter with these characters and this approach would've played like a grueling endurance test. I would've rather played tennis for seven straight days than have to be subjected to such a thing.
The film premiered on HBO in July 2015 for a reason I'm still trying to unearth myself. The network has long predicated itself on airing programs, original movies, and specials that are predicated upon a certain level of quality and to see such utter nonsense like 7 Days in Hell be part of the same lineup for a network that has brought us Curb Your Enthusiasm and countless original movies and documentaries seems like five steps backwards in the face of unprecedented growth and development.
The short is a mockumentary (a fake documentary) centered around the world of tennis, particularly on Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg boasting a David Spade/Joe Dirt-style look) and Charles Poole (Kit Harington), who played one another in what went on to be the longest tennis match in history (seven days). We get a profile on both of the players before we watch them play that specific match, learning Aaron is the stereotypical "bad boy" of the short, having a short fuse and a reckless, destructive image, while Charles was more of a child prodigy, groomed to become a big star.
Director Jake Szymanski and writer Murray Miller might've made a fun and funny concept had they not made this particular work so dreadfully unfunny and desperately built on crudity in order to muster up a cheap laugh. Rather than trying to realistically portray tennis and emphasize its more quirky or boring elements, Szymanski and Miller go right for the obvious and incredulous, showing Aaron interrupt the historic match not once, not twice, but thrice to have sex with streakers that run across the court almost completely naked. On top of that, we have to watch a ludicrous subplot involving Aaron making underwear that allows a man's scrotum to hang out of the underwear itself. Cut someone a break.
Cameo appearances by the likes of Will Forte (who really needs to get into the habit of doing roles that are at least halfway decent), Girls' Lena Dunham, and Mary Steenburgen are horribly misguided in their ability to try to sidetrack the story and get laughs from the audience that aren't revolving around the characters. One can admire the democratization of comedy by infusing a story and a script with the alternate perspectives of other characters, but when characters are drawn in broadstrokes and simply recite lines of catchphrases and quips, what is the value other than pushing a film past the boundaries of a halfway tolerable runtime?
For forty-three minutes, 7 Days in Hell is an almost entirely laughless excursion and pitiful showcase for what happens when a concept with potential is traded for brazen stupidity and subsequently dumbed-down so miserably that it doesn't exist as a competent satire or parody of a particular sport or subgenre. It simply exists as a comedy while failing miserably to perform on the basic level of a comedy.
Starring: Andy Samberg, Kit Harington, Will Forte, and Lena Dunham. Directed by: Jake Szymanski.