Rated: R for language and sexual material. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: July 1, 2016 Released by: A24 Films
Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known as The Daniels with a strong viral video background) write and direct their first feature starring Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) and Daniel Radcliffe (Now You See Me 2, going a long way to shed his Harry Potter image not just as a clandestine manipulator) set in an around the Pacific Northwest.
Swiss Army Man will be considered with an existential ennui a pretentious, if preposterous analogue to Cast Away, even Weekend at Bernie's since Radcliffe's gradually animated corpse Manny turns out to have a special bond with his companion. A gas (pun intended !) so to speak for Dano's shipwrecked and bereft Hank.
The infamous Blazing Saddles gag is used by The Daniels as a plot device which has its moments of flight of fancy in this whimsical ponderous adventure that becomes more limp given its curious set-up which touches on masculine repression and emotional impassivity. Not to say that Dano and especially Radcliffe (handling his visage pretty well given the circumstances) aren't fully committed to enliven the outlandish proceedings. As Manny does become a hard nut to crack from pop culture lessons from Hank which go into drag and underwater intimacy from a rigor mortis abject detritus.
Does it really matter how viable it all is and if there are inconsistencies in this watchable, if inscrutable cinematic abnormality which tries to gain some mileage from a screensaver of Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead of 10 Cloverfield Land)? The Daniels have gained notoriety playing off their image as well as Radcliffe's in a film which bones up to the versatility of the title given directions and returning to civilization. It's a risible gambol that should have been more (or less if music-video or short-feature format was preferably employed) given the talent in front of the camera, but an adventurous bromance breaks more wind than new ground.
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