Kill an animal and bond?
Buck Ferguson (Josh Brolin) is one of the best and most popular hunters in all the world. He’s funny, smart, savvy, and most importantly, charming. Unfortunately, all of that charm and fun didn’t extend to the rest of his personal life and it’s left him divorced, lonely, and without much of a connection to his 12-year-old son Jaden (Montana Jordan). But in order to sell more DVD’s and connect with his son a bit more, Buck decides to bring Jaden on his latest hunting-trip, where Buck’s assistant, Don (Danny McBride) will film every little thing they do. And this is good when they’re bonding and shooting at things, but not good when they’re fighting about cell-phones and whether or not Jaden should have two daddies in his life. Needless to say, the trip does not go as expected.
The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter is a lot like other Jody Hill productions in that it’s rather short on plot and premise, but big on characters and the random humor that comes from said characters. This makes the movie feel more improvised than it should, which as we know, can benefit any movie so long as the improv is good. If not, it can be a bit of a chore to sit through and it makes you wonder: Why didn’t they just write a solid script and stick to it?
Well, Whitetail proves that enough charm can help an ad-libbed movie get by, even if it’s not entirely successful.
Mostly, it’s just funny to watch Josh Brolin play around with his tough-guy image that we’ve been seeing so much of recently. He’s rough, gruff, and a little mean as Buck, but he’s also a sad, lonely, and rather depressed individual who just wants some sort of love in his life. The whole aspect of him killing animals to hide his own pain and hurt is sometimes touched on, but really, Hill and company are more interested in taking pot-shots at the toxic-masculinity of these characters and whether or not they’re happy individuals.
Same goes for McBride’s Don, who is fun and brings some much-needed lightness to a sometimes sad movie. Montana Jordan has already been splitting critics, with some loving what he does here, and others not so much; personally, I thought he worked just right for the material presented to him. His character was supposed to be a little annoying, a little bratty, and a little over-the-top, which makes everything he does and say seem stupid, but that’s sort of the point: He’s a 12-year-old boy living in 2018 that would much rather talk on his phone than shoot innocent animals!
But like I said, the rest of the movie is so-so. The comedy comes and goes, with certain aspects of the story coming into play, but not a great effect. Mostly, Whitetail proves that you do need a solid script to make sure that not only do your jokes work, but that they fit along with everything else you’re doing. Compared to a lot of the other studio-comedies I’ve been seeing, Whitetail gets by fine because it’s got more attention to its characters and their personalities than anything else, but it also feels like had they decided to take one more, hell, even a few more looks at the script, they would have come up with something resembling gold.
Possibly, though. I’m still not entirely sure.
Consensus: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter gets by solely on pure charm from its cast, but also features a few too many odds and ends that don’t add-up, especially in a comedy.
6 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Netflix