Review – The Estate

UK based filmmaker Dean Craig created what I believe to be one of the funniest comedies on the 2000s with the original Death at a Funeral. The dry British wit, the extraordinarily ridiculous premise and set pieces, plus some laugh out loud funny performances rounded out a truly great comedy! Unfortunately, his latest comedy film The Estate shows that even if you have the foundations of a good comedy, doesn’t necessarily mean lightning is going to strike twice.

When the news of their terminally-ill, but incredibly wealthy aunt, reaches sisters Macey (Toni Collete) and Savanna (Anna Faris), it seems all their financial problems will be solved… after a little bit of sucking-up and winning over their notoriously hard-to-please relative. Macey’s dream of finally opening her own business seem not too far out of reach, until the sisters discover that other members of their family, Beatrice (Rosemarie DeWitt) and Richard (David Duchovny), have the same idea.

Craig’s script has the bare bones structure of the classic trope, in which a family fight to get what they think is rightfully theirs, but learn along the way that family sticking together and sharing will make them happier. The writing is on the wall right from the get-go, and no matter what Craig tries, whether there even was an attempt to subvert the trope, this tried and tested formula is so predictable, that not even the unfunny attempts at outrageous crude humour can save it.

Each joke falls incredibly flat, and the try-hard delivery of some of the performances doesn’t help either. There’s nothing funny about a wife trying to force her husband to have sex with her Aunty for the money, because we’ve seen it before, and done better. There’s nothing funny about finding out that the aunt’s old high school flame is now a run-down alcoholic, yet there’s still an attempt to get them to marry for the money, because it’s already been done before! Even when the film pulls out it’s last trick from the barrel and has the family fondling a passed out man’s penis in public, trying to get it back in his pants – which should be a laugh out loud moment – gets nothing but a simple sigh because there is no interest in the shenanigans by that point.

The two-dimensional characters aren’t worth investing in. Each one is as unlikeable as the next, leaving you wondering why you should care if these insufferable maniacs get the money or not. The chemistry between the main four – Collette, Faris, Duchovny and DeWitt – makes some of the more unbearable moments digestible, because they are of the calibre of actor that can shine up a turd just enough to make you quickly question: “Is this actually a turd?” But then, Craig’s script pulls you straight back out of that stream of thought with another ill-advised joke. It really makes you question what (outside of money) was the reason these actors signed up to a film like this.

Craig has proven himself in the past with hilarious and fantastic screenplays, but having rushed out a film like this in the same year that another lacklustre and critically maligned comedy of his, The Honeymoon, was released, you can’t help but wonder whether taking some time off to refine his potential could be worth it.

The Estate is streaming on Prime Video from February 3.

Criterion 1
Users (0 votes) 0
What people say... Leave your rating
Sort by:

Be the first to leave a review.

User Avatar
{{{ review.rating_title }}}
{{{review.rating_comment | nl2br}}}

Show more
{{ pageNumber+1 }}
Leave your rating

Your browser does not support images upload. Please choose a modern one


Related articles

Review – Fallout Season 1

With the confirmation of Amazon’s latest hit TV series,...

Review : Spy X Family Code : White

In the electrifying comedy espionage anime to big screen...

Review – Rebel Moon: Part Two – The Scargiver

No stranger to divisiveness in his filmography, Zack Snyder’s...

Review – Challengers

Directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by Justin Kuritzkes,...
Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

Leave a Reply