'Death to 2020': Kicking the worst year out with comedy
What's the better way to laugh at the worst year than by laughing at it! This was the mantra that made Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker go back to his comedy-making prowess on British channels and cook up some humor that can't be any more obvious. There's no way of reviewing this mockumentary without revealing some of the best jokes for getting you started.
Talk about 2020: Director tells Dash Bracket
"A year so momentous, they actually named it twice," the first dig at 2020 preps you up for some dark humor along the way. The film starts with director James (Brooker) setting the cameras roll at hotshot reporter Dash Bracket (get the pun?) from The New Yorkerly News. Mr Bracket, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is being given the task of talking about 2020.
First things first: How January brought the horror in
In case the deep, no-nonsense voice of the narrator leaves you in splits with his descriptions, that's Laurence Fishburne talking. You see the dangerous bushfires in Australia rule global headlines in January this year, and Bracket asserting on the imminent dangers with his words, "and that's just January!" But wait for Kumail Nanjiani aka tech mogul Bark Multiverse's unique reaction to Greta Thunberg's speeches.
Taking Greta Thunberg a bit too seriously, mocking tech billionaires
Calling Thunberg a young woman who talks depressive things, Multiverse said the environmentalism prodigy's words hit him so hard that he blew up a mountain and made himself a bunker. Don't stay on that for long, as we have a scientist asking the director to excuse him while he ingests some H20. He has been studying viruses, his 'close friends,' for over a decade.
Studying 'close friends': Flask and his COVID-19 insight
That's virologist Pyrex Flask, played by Samson Kayo, who appears serious and into his purpose of sharing information about the COVID-19 virus that looks like an alien basketball. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, the director superimposes his scientific gibberish with literal bone-tickling nonsense that director James appears to pass on as 'textures' strengthening Flask's insights while irritating him beautifully.
Phoebe turns politician: Lisa Kudrow plays safe 'F.R.I.E.N.D.S' role
The only predictable performance in this title is by Lisa Kudrow, who plays a conservative in Trump's administration and pathologically falsifies information she herself gives when pointed out by the director. She doesn't mind doing a U-turn on her own logic minutes after, because she is playing Phoebe Buffay from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. But Tracey Ullman breaks the monotony with her role as Queen Elizabeth II.
Low on cliches, high on touché; Our verdict: 4/5
A true satire knows when to juggle moods, and Death to 2020 does that successfully while discussing George Floyd's murder and the Black Lives Matter movement, effortlessly showing white supremacy embedded within average 'soccer moms' like Cristin Milioti. Further, Hugh Grant's GoT-obsessed historian character delivers more smirks than grins, but the film goes low on cliches, high on touché with a 4/5 score.