I was really expecting to enjoy this one

by Martin Hafer

Sometimes you watch a film and wonder to yourself ‘what were they thinking when they made this movie?!’–such was my reaction when I watched this new and oddly named film starring Jason Schwartzman. Bob Byington wrote and directed this strange movie and it’s one that left me confused and bored.

When the film begins, Larry (Schwartzman) is a complete slacker and a bit of a loser. He’s just lost a job because he was caught stealing and he doesn’t seem to care in the least. What he does care about are drinking, taking drugs and his dog (incidentally, this French Bulldog is actually Schwartzman’s dog in real life). Later, when he gets a job in a quick lube store, you keep expecting Larry to somehow show that down deep he’s capable of change and will become responsible and likeable…which never really happens in any meaningful way. He is, throughout the entire film, a jerk who has serious issues and who doesn’t seem to care about this nor does he see much of a need to change. There is a tiny change at the end…but clearly not enough to offer any real hope for the guy cleaning himself up and achieving something with his life.

7 Chinese Brothers
Directed by
Bob Byington
Jason Schwartzman, Stephen Root, Olympia Dukakis
Release Date
28 August 2015
Martin’s Grade: D

This film is quirky…almost in a Wes Anderson sort of way, which is what I expected since Schwartzman frequently appears in Anderson’s films. However, the quirkiness isn’t humorous…just quirky and the film never really resonates with the audience. It’s strange…just to be strange. And this soon becomes tedious. Had this been a short film, it might have been an interesting character study. But at 90 minutes and with a leading character you cannot help but dislike the film dragged. No sense of reason for all this seemed evident to me at any point. A clear misfire and I can see why this film went to straight to DVD very quickly. If you care, it’s out this week but I wouldn’t rush to see it unless you are a die-hard Schwartzman fan or you like long and ponderous films.