Has Tiffany Haddish ever acted mild-mannered before? This… might be a landmark of a performance for her. Just saying.
The story looks like it’s about… actually, I haven’t the slightest idea what this movie is about. It looks like a dysfunctional family, but then a news report on television says that all citizens must pledge an oath to the President, or something, and then the main character loses his mind. Yeah, that’s all I really took away.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Ike Barinholtz (BLOCKERS , MARK FELT , SUICIDE SQUAD , and SISTERS ) and Tiffany Haddish (NIGHT SCHOOL , GIRLS TRIP , KEANU , and upcoming films NOBODY’S FOOL  and THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART ).
In support, we have Billy Magnussen (GAME NIGHT , INGRID GOES WEST , THE MEDDLER , BRIDGE OF SPIES , and upcoming films ALADDIN  and VELVET BUZZSAW ), John Cho (SEARCHING , COLUMBUS , STAR TREK 3 , GRANDMA , and upcoming films WISH DRAGON  and GRUDGE ), Max Greenfield (THE GLASS CASTLE , DORIS , THE BIG SHORT , and the upcoming WHAT MEN WANT ), Nora Dunn (TAG , and the upcoming CANAL STREET ), and Jay Duplass (LANDLINE , and the upcoming PROSPECT ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing is co-star Ike Barinholtz. He wrote CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE (2016), but this is his directorial debut. Congrats, sir. Composing the score is Bret Mazur, known for stuff I’ve either never heard of or seen, and upcoming films WALK TO VEGAS (2018) and HABIT (2018). The cinematographer is Cary Lalonde: feature film debut. Finally, the editor is Jack Price, known for INGRID GOES WEST.
Overall, this looks pretty confusing and not very good. Early ratings and reviews seem to point to that being the case.
This is my honest opinion of: THE OATH
Chris (Ike Barinholtz) and Kai (Tiffany Haddish) are a happily married couple going through a new country-wide pledge to the President for benefits. But Chris heavily disagrees with the policy. During a Thanksgiving get together of the extended family, things get heated when repeated political arguments erupt. But things get worse when enforcers of the oath come to Chris’ home and begin causing trouble, escalating to violence and a situation beyond control.
Oh God… wow, this was a hard one to sit through. Like… so hard. I was hyperventilating, I was fidgeting in my seat like I was in an earthquake, I was clutching my fist, I was clenching my teeth, clawing at my armrest, FUCK this movie was so bad!
Calming down now… okay, so this is basically a fictional U.S. and is likely supposed to be a satire on having Trump as a President without actually naming him. Actually, I think the President in this movie has a fake name, but the point is that this movie is saying that this country is turning into a… well, I’ll let the politically savvy tell me what the name of it would be, but it’s basically “you’re allowed to be individuals and believe what you want, but swear an oath to me and I will give you benefits” you piece this together for me. But that’s not what frustrates me, if that’s even what’s supposed to frustrate me. What does frustrate me is Chris. Oh my gentle Jesus, this guy does not know how to switch off. I know politically charged people, and they can blow up your Twitter and Facebook feed like madmen. But I guarantee you, when they’re out in the real world, they’re relegating their political minds to groups that are similarly politically minded, or they are completely capable of talking about other things. But Chris has the mannerisms of a crazy-person who can’t go a sentence without voicing his disgust with the oath and people who take it, even though they may have legitimately understandable reasons, like taking care of their families and what have you. But Chris is so judgmental that it’s never even clear what he truly gets out of being a “rebel.” Sure, oath-protesters are getting dragged away with bags over their heads and shot dead in the streets, but guess what, that tends to happen at these things! Not a lot, granted, but they’ve happened. And this goes on and on and fucking on throughout the first half.
The second half is no better. By this point in the story, Chris has compulsively pissed off everyone in the family, who are all assholes, by the way, and now the stakes get much higher. The family is visited by these “Oath enforcer” guys. They’re not cops or federal agents of any kind, but they apparently hold some kind of authority. They’re clearly part of the group that bags people and takes them to an undisclosed location for insert reasons here. But then everything quickly erupts into violence, getting tied up, and then it’s practically an hour worth of “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!” and “You fucks are so dead,” and “I need to know our options.” It’s like the mother-daughter scenes from THE ROOM, but on steroids.
Overall, it’s loud, it’s ear-bleedingly obnoxious, I just don’t get how and why this movie is receiving any positive reception at all. To each their own, I guess, but if the closest compliment that I can give this movie is acknowledging that Haddish is capable of playing a mild-mannered housewife rather effectively, then that’s not the best compliment that a movie can receive from me. This movie sucks. This movie is unbearable. I do not recommend this movie at all. Avoid it like the plague. Save your money, save your time, this is about the hardest “no” that I can say.
My honest rating for THE OATH: 1/5
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