Film Review: Smashed

I’m not exactly sure how Smashed came to be sitting in my pile of DVDs to watch. I think it was probably a case of seeing its rating on Rotten Tomatoes, briefly watching the trailer before finding that it was cheap on Amazon and simply going from there. Before hand, I couldn’t have really told you much about it, it wasn’t a film that had really troubled the mainstream, and even with Aaron Paul taking a major role in the film, it was born into the middle of the Jesse Pinkman/Breaking Bad phenomenon and so appears to have become forgotten, overlooked or more likely overshadowed by other successes.

But settled down with a bag of popcorn for a bit of Friday night entertainment , I didn’t want anything overly heavy after a busy week, I was simply after a decent, potentially thought provoking film that would pass the evening and allow me to unwind to make that transition from working week to relaxed weekend. Sadly though, even with positive fruit based reviews, the IMDb in agreement, for me, I found the film to be lacking. To be honest, Smashed is a film that fails to deliver anything like the potential stored within. And that’s such a crying shame because the movie that is desperately trying to get out could have been an all time classic.

The first major flaw in the film is in its casting. Aaron Paul is wooden. Whether because it was filmed during the successes of Breaking Bad, or whether it’s just his “style” throughout the entire film there is just an overriding sense that he cannot let go of Jesse Pinkman and the style of character that entails. There is a simplistic, almost childlike naivety he brings to a character, who throughout the film is required to be serious, to bring an emotional depth to the role which his style and personality just fail to ever deliver convincingly.

Then for whatever reason the film is short. It’s not even pushing the 90 minute mark and as a result you end up with a film that feels like it’s rushed. It never stops to explore the depths it needs to. It never spends any time looking into the characters, it really is a simple, just one coat, tell the basic story film and it just leaves you feeling firstly, slightly empty and secondly, very unfulfilled but also wondering what else you can do to pass the rest of your evening after it’s finished!

It’s not all bad though, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is stunning and makes the film. She takes the lead role and shines to such an extent that she serves more to highlight just how fundamentally poor other elements of this film are than to hold it all together. And that is just so annoying it’s hard to put it into words. As the film progresses you just become more and more emphatic towards her problems, her struggles, and her determination. You just wish though they’d let her fly, they’d let her into really take the character where it deserved to go.

Everything just feels like they didn’t dare push the boat. It leaves you so frustrated that it’s not true. There haven’t been many films that have left me feeling that I deserved a better film than I got but this is one of them. The ideas, the plot, could and should, have created a tale that moved me. If they had simply removed Aaron Paul and his whole “counter balance” side from the film, made Kate (Windstead) unmarried but really given time to developing her back story and the story of the characters around her as she moves forward, essentially giving her the script to back up her performance and extended the running time to facilitate this I truly believe this film would have been far, far stronger, and potentially, far, far more successful.

If you are awake a 1.55am, unable to sleep and it’s being shown on Channel 900 then it’s probably worth watching, but doesn’t seek it out, and especially not for Aaron Paul.

5 out of 10 stars (5 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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