I don’t know about you but I think it’s been too long since the last black comedy about a mentally ill serial killer who hallucinates his cat and dog talking to him; but with the release of The Voices the wait is finally over.
Reynolds is Jerry, an overly upbeat factory worker with serious issues – he hallucinates conversations with his pets and he’s a budding serial killer.
Reynolds voices both animals, the good cop dog, Bosco (Reynolds doing a dopey deep-south drawl), and bad cop cat Mr. Whiskers who encourages his killing spree.
The script is hilarious in places, especially the dialogue for Mr. Whiskers, made all the funnier with the fiercely Scottish accent Reynolds imbues him with. However, an equal number of exchanges, in particular those between the female cast members are clumsy and The Voices isn’t as frequently funny as it’s clearly aiming to be.
The future Mr. Wade Wilson puts in a strong performance, being believably awkward around other people, showing off his impressive comedy timing and looking entirely comfortable taking on a riskier role. The performances as a whole are good. Arterton does her best to overcome a patchy script to have fun as the office flirt, Anna Kendrick is sweetness personified and Jacki Weaver has a strong turn in a small but important role as Jerry’s therapist.
At its best The Voices produces the uncomfortable feeling that makes you want to hide your face with your hands and cringe in your seat. At its worst it produces the uncomfortable feeling of a film with jarring tonal shifts between comedy and serious; and the inescapable thought that writer Michael R. Perry and director Marjane Satrapi have no idea how to confidently end it, choosing to ramble on a bit before finishing with a song and dance number because….just because. Annoyingly catchy song, though.
The Verdict: The Voices is equal parts hilarious, intentionally uncomfortable and unintentionally clumsy; making it an interesting curiosity rather than a must-see.