“… made me wish I was taken hostage in a war torn country so I didn’t have to watch it.”
After watching Marvel movies for the better part of a month, I was excited to start delving into the movies I had missed. One of those movies was Special Correspondents, a Netflix original film starring Ricky Gervais and Eric Bana. The film is about two members of a radio station, a reporter (Eric Bana) and a sound technician (Ricky Gervais), who are tasked with going to Ecuador to cover a raging war but instead they hide out in an apartment and pretend that they have been taken hostage in Ecuador. In this review, I will be “spoiling” the movie (I use quotes because the plot is so predictable that there is really nothing to spoil), so if you want to go into this movie with fresh eyes for some reason, let me just warn you not to.
When the movie starts we are introduced to a man who drinks at a bar during the day, and then proceeds to pretend to be a detective to get into a crime scene. It is then revealed that this man is our lead (played by Eric Bana) and he is a reporter. His skill set being that he is able to say a lot of words, without really giving much information. Apparently, that is good enough for everyone at the radio station where he works because when he enters the building everyone gets up and claps. We are also introduced to the sound technician (Ricky Gervais), and another woman who is a reporter (played by Kelly Macdonald). There is a certain feeling in the air when the two interact with each other, and when I say a “certain feeling” I mean that it is painfully obvious that they are setting up a love connection. The plot of this movie is a complete dog’s breakfast, changing story focus as well as tone many times throughout the film. Honestly, it felt like many situations were being set up just so one of the charters could deliver a shitty punchline. Because of this, there are many instances where the plot just makes no fucking sense. Case in point: why would a local New York radio station send a reporter to cover a war in Ecuador? The only thing my local radio station does is tell me what the weather is going to be like for the rest of the day, and I rely on more professional news organizations to give me news that matters (rightfully so). Disregarding that fact, the entire movie has no point, because at the end of the film the pair have to take a road trip to Ecuador anyway. Why the fuck didn’t they do that to begin with? The reason they didn’t go to Ecuador was because their passports got thrown away, but if they could get into Ecuador with no problem without their passports, then why did I waste an hour of my time watching them hang out in an apartment?. There are a few other examples of writing that doesn’t make sense (like why was the boss of a local New York radio station sent to the White House?), but now I just want to talk about the poor writing in this movie and that was pretty much all of it. I have seen some bad movies in my time, and they all seem to have characters with exactly the same traits. You have: The loveable idiot, the asshole who is handsome and seems to have everything handed to him, the wife who is a terrible person, the boss who is a dick but is also able to be compassionate, the friend who no one ever looks at sexually but she ends up in a relationship with the main character, and the other one (or two) friend(s) who are the comic relief. There, I just laid out the entirety of the movie for you. If you are still interested in seeing it, then that is your prerogative. Not only were the characters so two-dimensional that I thought I was watching someone play an NES game, but they are also fucking stupid. I understand that dramatic irony can be used in a way that builds tension, but it loses all credibility when the characters know absolutely nothing. I’m not kidding, watching Special Correspondents was like watching a child discover the world for the first time. At first you’re like “oh, that’s cute. He doesn’t know what a car is”, but then 20 minutes in you’re screaming at the top of your lungs “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING YOU DUNCE?!”. At least the movie made me feel something I guess. To round off the review I want to talk about the acting, which much like the rest of the movie was terrible. Eric Bana really brought to life the character of a reporter who only yelled and had a shitty accent. Kevin Pollak did an amazing job playing the boss who was always mad at his staff, and yet he is easily impressed. The one person who I thought did a pretty good job was Ricky Gervais, but that is only because he has mastered playing a bumbling idiot throughout his career. In fact, I would have said that Ricky Gervais was the best part of the movie, until the screen faded to black and I saw the credits. “Written and Directed by Ricky Gervais”. Saying that Ricky Gervais was the best part of this piece of shit wouldn’t make any sense, because he is the one who made the piece of shit. It just so happens that he wrote that one character specifically for him, which is why he was so good at playing it.
Special Correspondents is a film that made me wish I was taken hostage in a war torn country so I didn’t have to watch it. The movie is bland, not very funny, and the writing is so terrible you know exactly what is going to happen next.
I give Special Correspondents a D