Amazon Prime’s Don’t Make Me Go is a would-be weepie starring John Cho as a terminally unwell man and Mia Isaac as his daughter. They go on a highway journey to allow them to giggle and cry and combat and be taught one another’s secrets and techniques, stuff like that, however they don’t go to White Citadel, and I can completely verify that, as a result of I watched it. The screenplay was as soon as on Hollywood’s Black Record, an annual survey of unproduced scripts thought of to be the “most appreciated” amongst producers – and word that “most appreciated” doesn’t equate to “finest,” as this film sadly proves.
The Gist: Whoops: Wally (Mia Isaac) and her dad Max (John Cho) simply needed to hang around on the seaside, however they didn’t know this seaside has much more hanging out at it than they thought, as a result of it’s a nude seaside. This scene happens halfway via their cross-country father-daughter bonding journey, however many of the film is about how they obtained there, so we flash again a couple of weeks to determine Wally as a typical 15-year-old being raised by single dad Max. Her mom left when she was a child and by no means regarded again. Wally is desirous about a boy who doesn’t deal with her very properly and Max is an insurance coverage salesman – fairly regular stuff, till he goes to the physician and learns his continual complications are as a result of a malignant bone tumor. His choices aren’t nice: Dangerous mind surgical procedure with probability he’ll die through the process. Or one yr to stay.
Backed by some convoluted reasoning, Max chooses the latter, and thus begins the primary of too many irritating, in all probability crummy selections he makes. For the following one, he throws Wally in his classic Wagoneer and tells her they’re roadtripping to Louisiana for his 20-year faculty reunion. She doesn’t wish to go, however he bribes her with a promise of driving classes on the way in which. His secret aim is to seek out her mom, since they don’t have another household, and somebody has to care for Wally after he’s gone. Seems Max has been withholding many different issues from his daughter – a secret tattoo, his deserted dream of being a musician, his tentative relationship with Annie (Kaya Scodelario), what actually occurred between him and Wally’s mom, and so on.
Oh, and the horrible proven fact that he’s dying, which he retains to himself for mystifying causes. I might hazard a guess and say he’s attempting to guard her, however maintaining an elephantine secret requires piling numerous fibs on high of it, after which when he lastly tells her, she’ll really feel deceived, and like the item of his condescension. He clearly hasn’t thought this out, however we’ve got, haven’t we? And they also’re arrange for cutesy bonding moments and misadventures. Wally will be taught that her dad wasn’t all the time so boring and Max will suppose he’s educating her life classes when she may very well be educating him some. Isn’t that all the time the way in which? However the entire time, their Wagoneer is in fact being adopted by a darkish cloud of stress: TELL HER, YOU JERK.
What Motion pictures Will It Remind You Of?: Street-trip family-bonding motion pictures like Little Miss Sunshine, Nebraska, um, A Goofy Movie or, uh, properly, The Guilt Trip come to thoughts. Cross that conceit with a juicy fatal-disease drama alongside the traces of Clouds or Terms of Endearment, and also you’re within the ballpark of Don’t Make Me Go.
Efficiency Price Watching: Cho and Isaac maintain up their ends of the comedio-dramatic discount equally properly, when the machinations of the screenplay aren’t getting of their means.
Memorable Dialogue: The film’s opening line, by way of Wally’s voiceover: “You’re not gonna like the way in which this story ends, however I feel you’ll like this story.”
Intercourse and Pores and skin: Higher-body feminine and lower-body male on the nude seaside.
Our Take: Proof that this film closely depends on Cho and Isaac’s chemistry: A scene during which Max takes Wally to a New Orleans jazz membership and tells her, “An excellent man will wish to take you dancing.” An overwritten second in a on line casino the place Wally illuminates how Max all the time performs it secure and doesn’t take probabilities. Tense driving classes. There are extra hackneyed moments that this dynamic duo handle to render practical and affecting via their considerate and real performances. They make this film work when it shouldn’t, successfully shielding us from its avalanche of cliches concerning the sneaky knowledge of teenagers and the way adults can stay a very long time and nonetheless make poor selections.
However that ending? It’s simply too many rocks tumbling down the mountain. Too many ants on the picnic. Too many orcs on the maintain. I used to be prepared to simply accept all of Max’s odd lapses in parenting logic as these of man with deep character flaws. The story builds to an inevitable climax whose shrillness betrays a tin ear for melodrama – a forgivable misstep, maybe. Then it grabs a maintain of the tassels on the runner and yanks it out from beneath us, undermining Cho and Isaac’s diligent character work. They spend 90 minutes crafting two lovable folks from a trope-laden premise solely to develop into puppets of the screenplay, as if the screenwriter needed so badly to make their presence recognized, to remind us how very written this film is. There are components of Don’t Make Me Go which might be straightforward to like, however its remaining 20 minutes are a bridge too far.
Our Name: SKIP IT. A film with a awful opening has loads of time to make up for it. A film with a awful ending leaves you with a nasty style in your mouth.
John Serba is a contract author and movie critic based mostly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com.