MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “The Peanut Butter Falcon” stars Shia LaBeouf (Fury, Transformers ), Zack Gottsagen (Bulletproof [Short], Ready to Ride: A Musical Homecoming), Dakota Johnson (Bad Times at the El Royale, Black Mass), John Hawkes (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Sessions), Thomas Haden Church (Sideways, We Bought a Zoo), Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight, The ‘Burbs), and Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver, Wind River). It is written and directed by Tyler Nilson (The Moped Diaries [Short], Alex Honnold’s Urban Ascents [Short]) and Michael Schwartz (Alex Honnold: At Home Off the Wall, Bricolage [Video Short]). After escaping his care home, Zak (Gottsagen), a man with down syndrome, runs into an outlaw named Tyler (LaBeouf) who agrees to take him to a wrestling school.
Whatever happened to just seeing a heartwarming film? You know, one that looks like it holds a solid story full of warmth and good values? Oh yeah… most of them end up sucking. There isn’t much market out there for movies like “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” Living in such a serialized world, we’re either drawn to featured properties (Marvel, Star Wars) or the usual drawn-up sequel. All that’s left are those heavy dramas meant for the Oscars. Whatever happened to being a mixed bag, box office? Everything’s become predictable and boring. So, when I saw the trailer for the kind flick “Peanut Butter Falcon” you could guess I was curious. Sure, it boasted the syrupy heart warmth you’d expect, but the story seemed to be much more than that. Spearheaded by Shia LaBeouf, this piece centers around Zak, a young man with Down Syndrome who escapes his facility in order to become a professional wrestler. In his escape, he runs into LaBeouf’s Tyler, a renegade with a dark past. Together, a bond is formed and lives are changed for the better. “Peanut Butter Falcon” appealed to me because it didn’t seem to follow closely to the trend of its genre. You could feel it’s genuineness oozing out of the screen, and it looked visually pleasing (also, who would pass up a chance to see LaBeouf at the theater?). For the most part, what you see in the trailers is what you get. The film is straightforward and to the point, building itself around character transformation rather than the goal that Zak looks to pursue. With these, we get fun moments, good laughs, and all-around smiles as Tyler and Zak grow to be brothers in this harsh reality they live in. Throw in a love interest (Eleanor, played by Dakota Johnson) and a few enemies and you’ve got a picture. I enjoyed “Peanut Butter Falcon.” It’s a nice experience to have and a breath of fresh air when compared to the excess that Hollywood is churning out. Certainly, it’s the kind of movie to take a date on as well as the family; pure, loving entertainment that seeks to soften hearts. The drama that bubbled beneath the surface was also alright, though it suffered from a clear lack of story direction. What faults “Peanut Butter Falcon” is mainly it’s use of coincidence. Many story elements fall into place seamlessly, and while that can be fine, there are times where it makes you scratch your head. Primarily, the foes that are going after Tyler. There’s no indication how they are able to track him, being how Tyler and Zak walk on foot and have a specific destination that was never given to the enemies; also, every time we cut to the bad guys, they were getting nowhere on their path. So… how did they catch up to him? No spoilers, because it’s never explained. That, alongside the shoehorned finale make things rocky for this otherwise loveable feature. At first, I liked the ending. It was sweet and offered a nice finish. But the more I thought about it, the more it didn’t add up. Certain emotional pacing and relational development was rushed, leaving for a finale that felt more out of the blue than anything. There was also an issue regarding Eleanor and her work that was never resolved, which would’ve been bad news bears for Zak if it was ever given more light than just one scene. I was disappointed, more so because this movie had good potential. It stands out from others like it, though it couldn’t keep itself from falling into some crucial clichés, leaving me with an experience that was nice… but not much more. If you want a lighthearted, enjoyable flick to see, give it a try. Otherwise, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” might just leave you high and dry, waiting for better closure. FINAL SCORE: 75%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: