'Don't Look Up' Is An Utter Failure
By Sal LoCicero | December 28, 2021
Throughout his career (so far), Adam McKay has always been known for working alongside Will Ferrell, with movies like ‘Anchorman’, 'Talladega Nights’, and ‘Step Brothers’. After the 2013 sequel ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’, McKay started to work solo. In 2015, he wrote and directed ‘The Big Short’, a movie that included a star studded cast led by Christian Bale. It also won Adam McKay an award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In 2018, McKay wrote and directed ‘Vice’, where he partnered with Will Ferrell to produce the project. The movie received 8 nominations, including best picture.
Now, his latest feature, distributed by Netflix, ‘Don’t Look Up’ is now available to watch. In this movie, two astronomers (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence) find out that a giant meteor is heading to Earth, and with only a short amount of time, they must find a way to warn the public. This is (now) McKay’s third political satire, and it is one that has - again - divided audiences.
Politics in entertainment is as controversial as the topic itself, it’s never been a simple topic to depict. Filmmakers like Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, and Aaron Sorkin have worked on political entertainment for years, and received mixed reception along the way. When you think of a filmmaker such as Adam McKay, your mind doesn't turn towards politics. His directorial debut was ‘Anchorman’, and after that, he continued working in comedy. When he made ‘Vice’, it was just as divisive as this feature.
‘Don’t Look Up’ is probably the worst movie of Adam McKay’s career and possibly the worst movie of the year. A movie that stars a whole bunch of highly famous actors, like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothee Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, and Cate Blanchett, wastes every single potential that it could possibly have. The movie fails as a comedy, a drama, a thriller, and as a science fiction. The story isn’t original, “the end of the world” plot has been recycled plenty of times, and McKay’s attempt is just atrocious. He uses the same filmmaking techniques that were present in ‘Vice’, which is what screwed it up.
The messages added into the movie are clear, so clear that ‘Don’t Look Up’ becomes the exact problem that it’s trying to tackle. Editor Hank Corwin (Vice, The Big Short) worsens it all with his editing capabilities. McKay preaches the absolute worst lecture about modern society, global warming, politics, social media, and pop icons. Even though Ariana Grande and Scott Mescudi (Kid Cudi) are in this feature so that the writer-director can make a statement, their presence feels out of place. Adam McKay reuses his bizarre comedic methods to tell the story, which is exactly why this is a major failure. Any other filmmaker would have understood the assignment on how to properly add comedy to this particular subject.
‘Don’t Look Up’ is obviously inspired by 1964’s ‘Dr Strangelove (Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb)’ directed by Stanley Kubrick, however McKay is no Kubrick, nor is he Oliver Stone.