This movie is garbage. Just total, red hot garbage.
Seriously. I don’t know why I’m even bothering to review it but here goes.
BQB here with a review of “The Oath.”
Somewhere out there is a movie about a family of people from different sides of the political spectrum who overcome their differences over the holidays and end up all the better for it.
This film is not it.
Initially, it seemed like it was trying to be. It takes place in a world where the government has sanctioned a supposedly non-mandatory oath, asking citizens to pledge their loyalty to the president. Talking head pundits explain that the pledge is not required, though mounting pressures make it so that those who don’t sign will be ostracized.
Enter Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish, a liberal couple who have vowed to not sign the oath. The deadline to sign is Black Friday and the majority of the film takes place during Thanksgiving week.
Over the course of the holiday, Ike gets angrier and angrier as he finds out everyone in his life who he thought was going to stick with him against the oath caves in and signs out of fear of retribution.
Meanwhile, in true Hollywood fashion, conservatives are portrayed as either monsters or dopes who blindly sign the pledge. Old man in a restaurant attacks people who don’t like the pledge with his cane = monster. Ike’s brother and sister-in-law who sign the pledge because they think it’s the patriotic thing to do = dopes.
Ironically, if there ever was an issue that would unite liberals and conservatives together, it would probably be a state sanctioned loyalty oath.
The film is schizophrenic and isn’t sure which direction it wants to go in. It’s billed as a comedy, but my funny bone was never tickled. It eventually turns into a violent, dramatic quasi-thriller, or at least it wants to be but the premise is so ridiculous that it makes who wonder what substance was being smoked by whoever green lit it. Worse, comedic elements are weaved into the mayhem, which just comes off as gross and stupid.
To the film’s credit, Ike works himself into a lather throughout the first half of the film, culminating into a crescendo where he loses it at Thanksgiving dinner, chews out his family of oath loving conservatives (and liberals who caved) and tells them they’re all pigs who should be hanged. Point made. If you get yourself so worked up over your political leanings that you start talking about breaking out the nooses for your own family, you might want to chill out and realize you’ve become the ogre that you claim to despise.
It could have ended there as a somewhat lackluster, forgettable film but then two agents from a government agency that administers the oath show up. Blah, blah, blah, mistakes are made and Ike and family end up in a brawl that ends with the agents severely wounded and held hostage.
At this point, you can almost hear whatever attempts at comedy had been made getting sucked out of the film. There are some jokes throughout the second half that fall utterly flat because, Jesus Christ and holy shit, there are two government agents who have been beaten half to death in the living room and yet somehow (SPOILER ALERT) no one ends up going to jail. Worse, some of the beatings are so hardcore that you wonder how they ended up in a comedy film because really, they’re the stuff of horror flicks.
I hate to give bad reviews of movies. After all, I’ve never made a movie before, so who am I to judge? This one sucks. And blows. It sucks and blows.
Is there a movie where a big, extended family that features a mix of die hard, conservative MAGA hat wearing Trump fans and hardcore, liberal pussy hat wearing resisters come together over the holidays and learn to love each other despite their disagreements? There is.
I doubt Hollywood could ever make it because both sides would have to be treated equally. That would require a script where jokes are made about BOTH liberals and conservatives AND conservatives would have to be portrayed as something more than the stereotypical hillbilly boogie man.
Moreover, characters would have to be allowed to discuss the major issues of the day and characters on BOTH sides of the aisle would have to be portrayed in a manner such that the audience could understand what life experiences the characters had that led them to that conclusion.
Hollywood could never do it. “Orange man=bad. Conservatives = hillbilly moonshine swigging boogie man who wants to kidnap all your non-white friends and hogtie them with the Confederate flag. The End.”
It’s too bad because if a legit comedy that gave us the ins and outs of a mixed family of conservatives and liberals could be made, it would be award winning stuff.
Again, this film isn’t it and it’s too bad because it could have been.
STATUS: Not shelf-worthy. The worst of 2018. Try not to blame Tiffany Haddish. She does her best to shine amidst a movie that is a pile of shit.