TIFF 2017 Day 3: “Downsizing,” “Brad’s Status,” “Mom and Dad”

Interesting day 3 to say the least. Saw some disappointments, but also a couple of gems. Today’s lineup for me included Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” Mike White’s “Brad’s Status,” and Brian Taylor’s “Mom and Dad.” So let’s get started!

“Downsizing,” dir. Alexander Payne

“Downsizing” follows a kindly occupational therapist who undergoes a new procedure to be shrunken to four inches tall so that he and his wife can help save the planet and afford a nice lifestyle at the same time.

Although I admire the ambition that Alexander Payne aims for, the longer it went on, the movie frustratingly preachy and full of itself “Downsizing” is. The first half has moments where the creativity shines and Christoph Waltz is a lot of fun to watch in his criminally small role, but the writing gets so contrived and overreliant on conveniences that I checked out by the time we hit the halfway point. The film never recovered from there.

1.5/5

“Brad’s Status,” dir. Mike White

A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life’s choices.

It’s got heart and Ben Stiller gives a very solid performance, but “Brad’s Status” feels a bit too standard and unfortunately suffers from being too reliant on narration and having its central character become not as sympathetic as the film wants him to be. He’s just dealing with not being as popular as your old friends . . . first world problems.

2.5/5

“Mom and Dad,” dir. Brian Taylor

A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids.

The usual frantic editing that Brian Taylor is known for is distracting, but “Mom and Dad” is an insane amount of fun. It goes completely bonkers with its premise and Nicolas Cage is psychotic and legendary.

3.5/5

If you want to stay updated with all my reviews at TIFF as I see the films, follow me on my Letterboxd.

Day 4 onward!

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