Netflix’s expensive action-comedy Red Notice fails to entertain
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Netflix spent more than $200 million on its new movie Red Notice, featuring A-list stars Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot, making it the streaming service’s most expensive film ever. Yet viewers may wonder where all that money went—not on a witty script. Even the charm of actors wasn’t enough to make an endearing comedy.
Red Notice (rated PG-13 for sexual innuendo and vulgar language) strives to be like classic Hollywood screwball comedies, à la Sullivan’s Travels. Two thieves, Nolan Booth (Reynolds) and the Bishop (Gadot), separately pursue one of Cleopatra’s bejeweled eggs as they in turn are hunted by an FBI agent, John Hartley (Johnson). When the agent is wrongly framed, he tries to help Nolan get the egg, which will somehow clear his name. The two pair up against the Bishop, and soon the three are off to pursue the precious treasure.
The movie’s main attraction is the comedic scenes featuring Reynolds and Johnson, who last teamed up briefly in Hobbs and Shaw. Reynolds finds his usual snarky, quippy form here with off-beat jokes about the Rock’s posh leather jacket (“Somewhere there’s a nude cow whispering, ‘Worth it!’”) to telegraphed jibes about the Rock’s physique (“You’re like a well-dressed wall!”)
Red Notice ultimately works best as nonsensical escapist entertainment. Yet even with that low bar, it doesn’t always succeed as it lacks the wit and chemistry necessary for a screwball comedy to become endearing.
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