Ryan Reynolds delivers a career highlight performance, but unfortunately, it’s not enough to save The Voices from its inconsistent tone and offensive premise.
A disturbed factory worker (Ryan Reynolds) who hears advice from his pet dog and cat is implicated in the accidental death of his co-worker.
Once upon a time Ryan Reynolds was going to be the next big leading man, but for some reason his smug sarcasm and boyish charms wasn’t enough. After a couple of blunders, he got stuck as one of those up and coming studs who appear once in a while to remind us that they’re still there waiting to take the place of Brad Pitt or George Clooney.
Fortunately, Reynolds has made some better choices in the process, which includes Deadpool and other upcoming promising projects (Self/Less with Tarsem Singh and Mississippi Grind with Ben Mendelsohn).
In The Voices, Ryan Reynolds delivers a convincing role as the mentally unstable Jerry, a dorky over eager factory worker. He shows a wider range of acting that his previous roles couldn’t allow him and pulls it off. The rest of the cast are also great, with Gemma Arterton as the British hottie he pines for and Anna Kendrick as the down to earth gal he unexpectedly ends up with.
Unfortunately, solid performances aren’t enough to make it work. It’s too horrifying to be funny, but also not suspenseful enough to be a horror. Let me explain.
The first part of the movie is a dark-comedy about Jerry’s struggle with schizophrenia. As the movie title suggests, he hears voices. One is a Scottish accent from an orange tabby named Mr. Whiskers who is the instigator. The other is a dull nasal voice from a mastiff named Bosco who is the benevolent supporter. While their interactions are interesting, its a predictable take on the angel and devil on your shoulder. People with accents are evil and cats are assholes.
Just when we’re about to root for the guy, the second part flips the script. The movie turns into a gory horror through bloody set-pieces that has no suspense. While Jerry is aware of his situation, taking his medications would also force him to deal with the stark reality of his condition. Once again we’re subjected to the crazy killer trope where mental illness is used as an excuse for murderous thoughts. The generic childhood trauma didn’t add any depth nor context to the voices Jerry hears.
The Voices wants to be ironic (further emphasized through a sing and dance number in the end credits), but ends up being uneven as the quirky stylized not so funny dark-comedy of a lonely bachelor doesn’t mesh well with an unsatisfying bloody horror of a crazy dork. The movie can’t decide what it’s supposed to be, what it wants to accomplish, and doesn’t offer much in any of its genre mixing attempts.
My Rating: 6.5/10