Tuesday, December 22, 2015

San Andreas Review

Listen, I'm all for watching beautiful people utter some seriously silly, shitty dialogue as they run from the devastation and death brought on from a massive earthquake. In fact I was pretty much in the mood for it when I gave the San Andreas disc a spin, ready to kick my feet up and enjoy a steaming pile of ridiculous. Bring it on.

The people, well, they are indeed beautiful. Dwayne Johnson, known by most as "The Rock", playing the role of a heroic father and ex-husband ready to swoop in and save his family when the world starts to crumble like a dry bundt cake. Carla Gugino as the mother capable of jumping from piece to piece of quickly falling debris and reaching out just in time to pull herself to safety. Alexandra Daddario as the daughter whose first scene in the film is of her in a bikini because frankly, that's why people bought a ticket. It's either for the muscles or the breasts, depending on your cup o' tea. Combine those with skyscrapers toppling over and millions upon millions of innocent people screaming as they die horrible deaths, and the recipe is complete: an achievement in bloated, big budget disaster porn.

The dialogue is silly and shitty, but to a level that was no longer fun anymore. Poor dialogue and performances are funny if they either are derived from trying way too hard or trying not hard at all. Like a fantastically overacting Nicolas Cage delivering a script full of nonsense is wonderful, and a Lifetime Original Film about a teenage girl meeting a bad boy online can also be joyous because of that soulless look in the eyes of a cast just trying to get this over with so they can cash their check. I can watch either end of that spectrum all day. San Andreas is lost in this awkward middle ground of being so bad it sometimes feels like a straight to television feature, like a SyFy channel effort with a lot more financial resources to waste, and sometimes like a serious, trying to be meaningful drama about a father who loves too hard to let even the end of the world stop him. There are scenes early on in the film that, while not winning anyone a statue anytime soon, aren't egregious enough to bring down the experience. Then towards the end of the film there are sequences that feel like characters trying so hard to "act" while in front of a noticeable green screen that it ends up feeling like a cringe worthy Saturday Night Live sketch.

I haven't seen a lot of The Rock as an actor, but I must ask, is he always this bad? I honestly had conceived this notion in my mind that he was pretty solid in front of the camera, but in San Andreas he has a few scenes that seem like he is striving for a Razzie. I didn't really notice until the last act of the movie, which is when the whole previously mediocre at best experience started to really crash and burn. Eye candy in every sense of the word works sometimes, it really does. 15 years ago I would have watched the scenes involving Daddario on repeat and never even bothered to decide if I actually liked the movie or not. Hell, when I was 13 me and my friends once rented a film because it had Elisabeth Shue in it and we literally fast forwarded through the entire thing in search of nudity, only to return it to the video store roughly 30 minutes later.

Adult me isn't some old dusty creature no longer capable of such pleasures. At this stage of my life though, I need more of an out of place and way too talented for this shit Paul Giamatti and less of everything else. Beautiful people are fine, but this is Hollywood. Everyone is beautiful and a lot of them star in great films worthy of a watch. San Andreas is pretty but otherwise without a pulse.



  1. The only reason I know Alexandra Daddario is that she got topless in True Detective.

    1. Yeah, that's pretty much how everyone knows her haha. Until I learned her name she was the "true detective girl".

    2. HA HA!! I just saw that they are making a Baywatch movie and guess who is in it? That's right, Alexandria Daddario. With casting like this, I don't envision her being in the business 5 years from now.

    3. I saw that too. She is the it girl for sex appeal right now, all thanks to True Detective. Gotta wonder how long that lasts unless she can establish any sort of real acting talent to keep her relevant beyond this.