Glenn reporting from Tribeca
Courteney Cox looms large in my personal history as a central figure in two long running franchises (Friends and Scream) that played a major role in my teenage (and further) life. So it takes a lot for me to dislike something Courteney Cox does so violently as I did her directorial debut Just Before I Go. I went in to her new film intrigued and with some mild expectations that she’d be able to transfer the strange, often very dark humor of her current TBS sitcom Cougar Town into something somewhat funny. This new film’s elements of suicide, homophobia, racism, and other eye-raising topics certainly lend themselves to a wicked, taboo-pushing comedy, but what she and screenwriter David Flebotte have delivered instead is one of the most offensive pieces of trash to have come out in quite some time. [more...]
Courteney Cox, who does not star, on set directing Just Before I Go
The mostly inoffensive gags about camel-toe, boners and sassy black women are unfunny but hardly film-destroying. What makes Just Before I Go abhorrent is its progression of anti-women jokes that pointedly insult any female that isn’t white, skinny and of a standard level of beautiful. Aghast I was when one female character, a married mother of five who has ‘let herself go’, utters to her high school sweetheart.
Kindness to a big girl is like a dinner bell. If you ring it we’ll always come running.”
Later in the film the Olivia Thirlby character is asked, “Why are you single? You’re beautiful", as if being beautiful is her only asset, and the only thing that matters in finding love.
And when it’s not betraying Cox and Flebotte’s apparently rigid standards of feminine approval, it finds other ways to offend: there’s a terrible gay bashing storyline that places the blame on the victim; a plot line involving an emotional domestic abuser (played for laughs) who utters repetitive "retard", homophobiv and race jokes that are – pardon the pun – off-colour and out of place; and an endless stream of jokes about female masturbation that make a mockery of the female body and sexual harassment. There’s a way to make vicious comedy funny, but the tone-deaf, bland sitcom direction, and a messy narrative make the film – and the audience – languish in a hell of its own making.
Deplorable, ugly and mean. Since seeing it, it has jockeyed with Victor Levin’s 5 to 7 (also starring Olivia Thirlby, and reviewed by Diana) as the worst film of the festival and perhaps the worst I am likely to see this year. F