Overstuffed ‘Don’t Look Up’ is Still Pretty Damn Funny (Review)

by | Dec 7, 2021

Adam McKay, one of the most polarizing directors in the game right now, is back with another
button-pushing comedy that will ruffle some feathers. Love him or hate him, McKay always
provides entertaining products, even if that means some people will turn off one of his films
before finishing it. That couldn’t be more true for his latest film, Don’t Look Up, which is certain
to turn off some viewers within the first act of the film. Regardless of your personal views, this is
still a must-see comedy, thanks to the A-list talent assembled here. And while this might not be
the awards contender Netflix was/is hoping for, it is still pretty damn funny.

Don’t Look Up tells the story of two astronomers (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer
Lawrence) at Michigan State University who discover a comet headed toward earth that will
destroy the planet. Once they make this discovery, they set out to warn everyone, which leads
to a conversation with the President (Meryl Streep), who is a Donald Trump-like figure with her
own controversies, both in and out of the White House. And as you can expect, it puts a wrench
in trying to save the planet from total annihilation as a divide occurs over whether the threat of a
comet streaking toward earth is real or not.

McKay juggles topics related to politics, traditional media, and social media in Don’t Look Up.
Most of it works, but it certainly feels overstuffed with ideas and secondary characters that could
have been left out entirely. There is also a discussion to be had on how much more content we
need in terms of making fun of the former President, as it feels like overkill and not as funny
anymore. This film could have had a simpler, 90-minute cut, though this almost two-and-a-half
film still provides more than enough laughs where the satire mostly lands as to not overstay its
welcome while providing some of the year’s best laugh-out-loud moments.

The usual award-nominated suspects like DiCaprio, Lawrence, Streep, Cate Blanchett, and
Mark Rylance are all good in their respective roles. But it’s Jonah Hill, playing the son of the
President as a bizarre hybrid of Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who provides the best performance
and also some of the movie’s funniest moments. It should be noted that the always underrated
Rob Morgan (Mudbound) as a scientist who helps DiCaprio and Lawrence’s characters is also
great here. And in even much smaller roles, Rob Perlman, Timothee Chalamet, Ariana Grande
(while also singing what is easily the year’s best original song in a movie) provide some great
moments with their oddball characters as well.

While Don’t Look Up is one of Netflix’s last releases for the year, it’s not close to one of their
best like The Power of the Dog or The Harder They Fall. It’s also not better than McKay’s
previously two directed films, Vice or The Big Short. However, it’s still worth seeing, thanks to its
cast that does their best in delivering satire that mostly lands rather than crashes. If there’s one
thing I do miss about packed houses at movie theaters, it’s seeing comedies with a crowd. And
if you have a chance to see this in a theater (provided you feel safe amongst crowds with
vaccines and boosters readily available), I strongly encourage you to do so, as this movie
provides some of the biggest laughs you’ll see in any film this year.

Rating: 3.5/5