Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter
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PLOT: TV hunter Buck Ferguson (Josh Brolin) – with his trusty cameraman (Danny McBride) in tow, sets out to initiate his son (Montana Jordan) into the world of deer hunting, only to realize his bond with the boy is not as strong as he thought.

REVIEW: THE LEGACY OF A WHITETAIL DEER HUNTER is Jody Hill’s long-shelved follow-up to THE FOOT FIST WAY and OBSERVE & REPORT. Having actually been shot before “Vice Principals” aired, it’s a light, funny Netflix watch, but not quite the breakout film he might have been aiming for, being curiously toned-down compared to his early films and TV work. On its own merits, and without pitch-black humor to fall back on, the film only half-works, although running a lean eighty minutes, it’s never too taxing a watch.

One thing it does have going for it is the amazing Josh Brolin, who fully commits to his part, even having gained a significant amount of weight to believably play the good ol’ boy deer hunter. Fans will be surprised to see him this way, especially compared to his lean, muscular look in DEADPOOL 2 and SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO. Brolin seems like he’s having a ball, with Buck kinda half-way between his George W. Bush and Llewelyn Moss. Like HAIL, CAESAR, it’s a good comedic showcase for him, and he gives Buck enough pathos and heart to keep him from becoming an all-out caricature.

In some ways though, that’s the problem. Clearly, Hill, who also co-wrote with McBride (and John Carcieri) wants you to care about Buck and his kid, the smart-mouthed, iPhone addicted Jaden, but the attempts to tug at heartstrings fall flat. Hill’s character-based stuff is great, but what made FOOT FIST WAY and OBSERVE & REPORT work so well was the pitch-black humor and unlikability of the characters. On TV, it’s easier for Hill to give them an arc that makes them more humane, but working in the confines of a feature, the transition from Buck being a near-slapstick comedy figure to a loving dad is jarring.

It’s lucky then that Hill has Brolin in the part, who’s able to navigate the transitions, even if the humor grinds to a halt, and you’re never as engaged with the father-son story as you should be. That said, young Montana Jordan is great as the trash-mouthed kid, while Danny McBride scores some of the biggest laughs as Buck’s perverted cameraman – definitely, the kind of guy who shouldn’t be around a twelve-year-old.

While THE LEGACY OF A WHITETAIL DEER HUNTER doesn’t come close to being on-par with Hill’s other work, being too mainstream and toned-down, it’s still a solid watch and good for a few laughs. Netflix is kinda the perfect platform for it, and it’s for sure worth a quick watch; although I have a feeling it’ll just wind up as a footnote in his career.

Source: JoBlo.com



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