Freelance | Review by: Benjamin Garrett
Freelance is a generic action flick, made so much worse by the bizarre choice to shoot it with a lighthearted, comedic tone. Obviously action-comedy is a successful sub-genre of its own, but this confused mashup fails miserably at merging the two.
The best way to describe the movie, is that it feels as if it were written as a serious action flick, but changed at the last minute to incorporate a lighter tone and comedy. If you take away the poorly written and badly timed jokes, the plot kind of works as a straight-faced action movie. I’m not saying it would’ve been any good if that were the case, but it surely would’ve turned out better than this.
If you look at the director’s past work, that theory actually makes sense. His catalogue is filled with action, but no comedy. His experience unfortunately translates to the screen, with some competently shot (albeit a bit uninspired) action, and a lot of horribly executed humour. The movie is just shy of two hours long, and I laughed three times. THREE! That’s an average of one laugh every 37 minutes. It’s not for a lack of the movie trying though, it’s just that almost none of it lands. It’s also lit and colour graded like a network TV show, which makes it look cheaper than it is.
I often enjoy John Cena and Alison Brie, but they do not work together here - like, not at all. Whether that’s the fault of the writing, or a lack of chemistry, or both, their dynamic flatlines early on and there’s no saving it. Also, Brie’s character is one of the most poorly written female leads I’ve seen in a long time. She’s needlessly sexualized, and her character arc doesn’t go far beyond “journalist who wants to get the scoop before anyone else”. Juan Pablo Raba is one of the only performances that works, and dare I say, I actually enjoyed his character’s story?
Freelance lacks originality, is tonally inept, and the two leads have zero chemistry. This is the kind of movie you find in the bargain bin at Walmart, but toss aside digging for something better.
Review by: Benjamin Garrett
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