Dear Evan Hansen Review

There are few sights funnier than a man nearing his 30s trying to pass as an awkward high-schooler in over his head. There are layers to his beautiful disaster. Dear Evan Hansen is the product of modernity and everything wrong with the self-intolerant, corrupt typography associated best with the likes of Ben Platt. His offering here shows signs of a screeching tantrum. He is desperate for that Academy Awards glory, and Dear Evan Hansen is as desperate a clutch at glory as Welcome to Marwen was for Steve Carrell just two years ago. When will they learn? Probably never, and audiences will be better for it.

Much of the material within Dear Evan Hansen is misguided. But it is the lack of guidance and the eventual, disturbing revelations within that are handled so poorly. Platt adapts to his leading role with the confidence of a court jester knowing he will be killed if he cannot time the emotional high with the desperate, dramatic low. Platt blends the two together with significant terror. Six years ago, the musical-to-stage path would have been acceptable and even convincing. But Platt is struck with desire, and in turn, tries too hard to convince audiences of his performance that he fails to reconcile the emotional adversity and broad innovations of his performances elsewhere. Even then, they are not the most forward-facing roles. A bit part here or there, it is all he deserves, especially now that he has received higher billing than both Amy Adams and Julianne Moore.

Why both of those talented, Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning actors respectively have appeared in this is a pure wonder. Adams is on a poor run of form, something that, hopefully, will crescendo with Dear Evan Hansen. This feature feels like a crescendo for all involved. Some will embrace the dive and never be seen again, while others will bloom out of the soil and manure poured over them. Dear Evan Hansen is manure. It is filth and bitter and hilariously poor. From an elderly man portraying a young teen to the fear of handshakes and the unbelievability of the premise that sets the sparks flying, it is an awfully fascinating feature. It is the degeneracy of evolution that got us here, and it is the symphony of bad ideas that bring us back to Earth.

Platt is the Lord Minimus of the modern age. He will die in obscurity as audiences that praised him at his peak wonder what he ever stood for. At least Minimus made audiences laugh. Platt can only offer feigned, obnoxious tears to audiences struggling to come to terms with his role. Act the fool, play the part. Platt does so, but at what cost? He sacrifices the structure of the feature, the poignancy of its rather commercialised message and any integrity he had by throwing a strop and clinging to the one role that defined him. But make no mistake, he is a large cog in a machine of trouble, for Dear Evan Hansen is a miserable experience. We should expect nothing less from the poached mind of Stephen Chbosky, whose work on The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Wonder are just as baseless and hack-like as Dear Evan Hansen. 

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