Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Movie Review #321: "Hell and Back" (2015)

Movie"Hell and Back"
Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: Tom Gianas & Ross Shuman
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Image Source
A man working at a run down carnival named Curt (Rob Riggle) is sucked to hell after he breaks a blood oath on "The Book of Beelzebub" to give his friend a breath mint. His friends and co-workers, Remy (Nick Swardson) and Augie (TJ Miller), head to hell to rescue him from eternal damnation. 


To be honest, we can't remember a mediocre Nick Swardson movie since "Grandma's Boy," and still, BigJ hates that one and I haven't even seen it since high school. We saw a trailer for "Hell and Back" and thought the animation looked pretty cool, so it might be promising. It's a stop-motion style film with some neatly sculpted characters and a lot of ghoulish, hell related scenarios.

And that's about it.

"Hell and Back" is an R-rated animated feature written by a group of people who worked on TV shows like "SNL," "Robot Chicken," and "Nick Swardson's Pretend Time." Sometimes R-rated animated features receive an R rating to explore more mature, politically satirical themes like "Team America," but most animated features are targeted for kids and can't really explore topics such as this. In the case of this movie, it uses its hard-R rating to explore immature themes and toilet humor to the max in the most crude and offensive way imaginable. It's the kind of humor that appeals to 13-year old internet troll and their creepy uncles who think incest and hentai are "cool" and "okay." What seemed like a promising beginning was easily ruined within 2 minutes of the film's start time as one of the characters, it doesn't even matter what the name of the character is that kicks off this literal spoken sausage fest because THEY ALL DO IT ANYWAYS, cracks the first of what can only be described as an avalanche of orifice jokes. In fact, about 95% of the jokes are about some form of intercourse or fellatio. No hole is left unturned when it comes to "Hell and Back." The sex humor is constant, never ceasing for a moment to catch its breath, in between its plot about being summoned to hell all because of a blood oath gone bad over a breath mint. When there were not easy, expected jokes about penises and banging mothers going on, the "humor," and we use this term loosely, changed from something a middle schooler would loved to something no one, ever, should laugh at or exploit for humorous gain. There are an unbelievable amount of rape jokes in this movie, which is a hard line for us. As we have stated several times on this blog, we're not prudes and we can put up with a lot of shitty jokes all in the name of a day's work, but when a movie insinuates that someone was asking for rape because of what they were wearing? Nope. Done. Hard stop. Pump the breaks. "But hey, get over it! The rape was being perpetrated by a tree! It's not real, it's a movie, and you're taking it too seriously~!!" No, YOU get over it. This kind of lax and reprehensible attitude about rape and sexual assault is an insane line of thinking and an insult to humankind. Just because you're a comedian doesn't mean you have to hit on every single subject all in the name of comedy and jokes. "But hey, the humor is not not all bad, guys!" There were 4 actual jokes we could laugh at here. 4 jokes in 87 minutes! "But hey, this is the best time to be alive for comedy, right?" George Carlin is probably turning over in his grave right now, and even he could enjoy and tell a good dick joke or two.

The best thing about this awful movie is its animation style as these are the types of characters you might see on the aforementioned "Robot Chicken." The overall look of the film is really cool, but it's tragically wasted on a few talentless hacks who peaked at a sketch called "Gay Robot" and have consistently ridden Adam Sandler's coattails for the better part of 10 years. It's unfortunate that a film with such a cool look, evil feel to its design, and a unique concept like this wound up being one big, long, throbbing dick joke (see? this dick joke was better than most of the crap we witnessed during this film). As we mentioned above, not all of the jokes are horrible. There are a couple of quips about the minor annoyances the devil's henchmen do to torture souls in hell, like put up a sign for a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell combo restaurant that only sells tacos, or to offer someone a soda that's already gone flat. Overall, though, it's mostly all terrible, and it's quite depressing to know a lot of the actors and actresses voicing characters for "Hell and Back" are people we have really come to like and respect in the floundering world of comedy. Though many of them do steer clear of lines and phrases of a tactless nature, not all of them do and it was enough for us to take notice. How these dopes got Susan Sarandon to lend her voice to such a project really makes us question our like of Susan Sarandon. In the end, we can't say we're at all surprised because Nick Swardson was involved in this movie, and really, when has Nick Swardson ever been the lead in a decent film? This movie is a raging, seemingly endless bummer and a complete waste of an animation team.

My Rating: 2.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 2.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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