The film ‘The Voices’ starring Ryan Reynolds is, at it’s heart, a mishmash of tired tropes that never really engages it audience despite the chemistry of it’s lead and likable supporting cast. To be clear, I am not a fan of the narrative device of the unreliable narrator and while this film hasn’t turned me around on that viewpoint; it utilizes this trope the best of all the gimmicks it trots out. Mostly the film fails on because of the trope that has nagged me for some time, that is the trope of the mental patient who won’t use their prescribed medication but it doesn’t effect their actions or ability to blend into normal society until it’s necessary to facilitate the facile story.
The conceit of the film is that a normal nerdy guy (you know Ryan Reynolds- I mean how does this poor bastard get laid) is lonely and the only way for him to interact with his only friends is to forego his antipsychotic meds. His friends are his household pets a dog and a cat, both voiced by Reynolds, and these are the scenes in the movie that work the best. Really his pets are yet another trope of the angel and the devil on his shoulders with his dog voicing the moral concerns around his ever spiraling situation and the cat egging him on urging his baser more primal instincts. If this whole film had taken place in his apartment with his pets I may have enjoyed the film overall.
The supporting cast is small and only serves as act breaks, Gemma Arterton the buxom apple of his eye and Anna Kendrick as the quirky account who is totally into him, though he can’t see it for his infatuation with Arterton. On all accounts the performances weren’t a hindrance to the film without really doing much to propel the lackluster story. Again the only thing I’ll take away from the film are the chuckles had between Reynolds, Reynolds, and Reynolds, so perhaps I’ll just check out ‘Look Who’s Talking 3’ instead of a repeat viewing of this film.
Overall this film is yet another example of how not to do a dark comedy. The ranks of quality dark comedies are exactly swelling, but really anything the Coen Brothers make that doesn’t have a straight drama tag, and if you really want to see a smaller dark comedy done well watch Brenden Gleason in ‘The Guard’ or Cillian Murphy in ‘Intermission’, perhaps I’m a bit of a Europhile in this regard. ‘The Voices’ just doesn’t hit on the levels of these films despite having all the right ingredients; my voice would tell you to skip it.