Do you think astrophysics can get complicated? You would be right - but not nearly as complicated as family can quickly become. We're raised to believe that family is everything. Blood is blood - and even when thrust into a family line through marriage, that new addition becomes as important as any genetic relative. Of course we all know... that's a load of horseshit. The complications of family can be brutal. Especially when considering in-laws and their contributions to the clan. So much so, that a seemingly infinite number of dramatic songs, scripts, poems and theatrical productions have all embraced the subject.
Speaking of theater, if this movies title sounds familiar - you're not going crazy. To be or not to be - that is the question. Whether it's nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and "Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune" or take arms against a sea of troubles. Something like that. My point is this. If you're thinking "Hamlet" from the title or trailer of this film, you are definitely in the ballpark. But this is a Mickey Reece film, so essentially... influences aside, anything can happen.
Millionaire George Arrow has requested the presence of his estranged son Henry - while in the hospital on his deathbed. As is often the case near the end, George has many regrets. His lack of interest as a father, in Henry's life, is one of them. Henry is from a previous relationship - and seemingly had no place in George's new life. It's when George finally dies, Henry finds that he now owns a mansion. Courtesy of the late George Arrow. How cool is that?
So... leaving his girlfriend Mimi behind, Henry takes off to check out his new mansion and it's here, that "Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune" really kicks into gear. As the mansion fills up with strangers, friends, step family and even the pizza guy - Henry's patience is tested in the most dryly comical ways imaginable. Everyone wants something and honestly? Henry is more than happy to just give it - if it would only extricate him from this crazy situation. Did I mention almost all the characters are pretty damn eccentric? It's those eccentricities that drive the comedy in this film. Those eccentricities and Henry's matter of fact personality. Mickey Reece's film is not your typical comedy however, the jokes are contained within the personalities of the characters. I'm not totally sure that's the best way to describe things, but it will have to do. Is the film actually funny? Yes. For anyone who loves dry, deadpan style comedy.
I actually really enjoyed the casting of this film. Casting Alex Sanchez as Henry was a brilliant move. Henry is your average Joe. A little nerdy? Definitely. Perhaps a little awkward when communicating? Again... for sure. Yet he also seems to be aware of all this, and tries to maintain a confident attitude. It doesn't matter if he gives in and concedes, making him the perfect example of so many people I know personally. Maybe even myself included. Am I writing about the character Henry? Or am I writing about Alex himself? That's the beauty of Sanchez being cast in the leading role. Seemingly, I could be writing about either. His casting just works.
As for the supporting roles, I really have no complaints. As a matter of fact? The characters - and their portrayals - are putting a smile on my face right now. Mary Buss as Henry's step-mother was so on point with the cliche unloving step-parent, it was both comical and painful to watch. Painful in a good way I should point out. The comedy came from the stereotype, the pain comes from a slightly darker truth about people of her nature. All brought brilliantly to life onscreen by Buss. The perfect example of that darker, truer to life aspect? That comes in the form of Henry's step-sister, who shows us the damages a less than perfect family or mother can cause.
I also loved the overly dramatic Evelyn, and the mile a minute best friend Dennis - who both add a counter point to the dry comedic tone of the film; allowing a seamless mesh of styles. It all works perfectly and as a direct result, the pacing of this film feels spot on. Never lagging. Other than the acting? This is a film that is clever when considering the script, and excellently presented to it's audience. Did I mention the third act? Good. I wasn't planning on it - but it's viewers are probably going to love it.
I expected a decent film going into this and wasn't let down. "Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune" is an off-beat, unusual film that is off-beat and unusual in the best possible way. Another of those movies I would/will be more than happy to add to my personal collection. I had some real fun here and have no problem awarding a four star rating. Bravo and well done.