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Movie Review: The Darwin Awards

Posted on May 21, 2012 AT 06:39pm

Movie Review: The Darwin Awards
For those of you who may not know, The Darwin Awards is a comedic honor created by Stanford molecular biologist, Wendy Northcutt in 1993 to recognize individuals who contribute to human evolution by removing themselves from the gene pool in an extraordinarily idiotic manner. Fast-forward to 2006 and a movie dubbed with the title, you guessed it,The Darwin Awards was born. This indie-comedy draws you in quickly with a murder-mystery aspect of the story line introducing the main character, a forensic detective, Michael Burrows (Joseph Fiennes) who has a knack for profiling personalities and an obsessive hobby of studying Darwin Award cases. Also, chronicling the detective is a film student, whose identity is concealed through a majority of the film since he claims to be taking an objective stance for his documentary. While investigating a series of murders, our protagonist Detective Michaels finds and confronts who he believes to be the killer. Quickly trying to apprehend the suspect turns into a bit of scuffle drawing blood. Did I forget to mention our hero has hematophobia – a fear of blood or the sight of blood – which causes the detective to faint and the dasterdly villian to escape. Read on for more!

After opening with a bit of action, the film then takes a turn towards the main topic, the title suggests for a satirical break in the story. After allowing the serial killer to escape, Michael loses his job as a detective and slips into a momentary depression. Suddenly, he obtains the idea to combine his obsessive hobby with insurance claims and presents the idea to a CEO of an insurance company. Shortly after proving his ablilities, Michael is paired off with Siri Taylor (Winona Ryder), an insurance claims specialist to prove his theory that all of the Darwin Award honorees have certain personality traits in common that cause them to commit and participate in acts that most people wouldn’t dare attempt. Once Michael and Siri embark on their journey, one is rewarded with the occasional chuckle produced from sarcastic quips between the two characters. The re-telling of the few Darwin Award stories featured in the film, through the narration of Michael, is paired with some-what visually striking scenes providing the viewer with little snatches of eye candy.

The overall feel of the acting in the movie is a bit mediocre and stiff at times, giving the characters throughout the story somewhat of a cheesy or dry dialogue amongst one another. Chemistry between Ryder and Fiennes’ characters is almost non-existent, leaving the audience slightly indifferent to whether or not a romance blossoms on screen despite the theme that it inevitably will. Just as one has gotten nice and comfortable watching the eccentric Darwin Award deaths play out, the movie gets back on the course it starts out on and Michael makes the discovery of his elusive killer’s home. Reluctant to help, the camera man who has been recording Michael’s every move assists the detective in recording evidence in the killer’s home segueing the audience through the next stream events that leads to the conclusion of the story with a bang. Overall, The Darwin Awards is a quirky tale with a mixture of action, comedy and even for the ladies, a twist of romance. A couple cameo appearances from Metallica and the hosts of Mythbusters may make the film more enjoyable for some. Don’t expect to have your socks knocked off, but if you’re looking for a giggle paired with the ever-entertaining topic of human blunders, The Darwin Awards is a movie for you.

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