Thursday, December 7, 2023
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The Good House Review

The only good house is one with a spiral staircase and a newly fitted kitchen. Living the dream. Although the home featured in The Good House, a Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline-led retirement vacation movie, is a close third. Second place is, of course, the out-of-place disaster that was Tindale Towers. There it stands, between a skip and a Premier Inn, looking as though it was airlifted in from Malaga. Maybe it was. Anyway, cast that from the mind and focus on Wallace Wolodarsky and Maya Forbes’ efforts here, because it takes two people to handle the beast of an actor that is Rob Delaney. A strange first-time pairing for the duo who enjoyed moderate success behind the camera elsewhere brings about nothing special but the chance to work around legends of the screen. 

Still living in The Good House is far better than living opposite people with screaming birthday parties through the half term. Isolation is comfort, hearing the cries of tired parents sloshed on corner shop wine ruins the beauty of summer. We are right to be selfish when it comes to sound. Proving once more the best way to live is in the Straw Dogs house but with salty air and fewer killer inbreds, The Good House has a faded and ugly colour scheme to it to match its equally scornful fourth-wall breaks. Quite the chipper collection for a film which looks as though its print was washed in dishwater. Weaver, looking annoyed she was approached to feature in this project, right after Master Gardener no less, is an empty vessel for the film. Kline is too.  

Full tours of the area we are to spend our hours in with Weaver and Kline’s dull back and forth, The Good House is a sign of two warring directors attempting to cement their style, although neither is yet to find theirs. Plenty of speaking to the camera and it gives off the impression of a lack of trust in the story. Either that, or Weaver has broken entirely and decided her new form of acting is to dictate to the audience, rather than convince them. Still, this is a choice made by the screenwriters, the off-screen individuals hoping to see through the hazy lives of alcoholics heading through their crises. Flippant enough to loathe it, but not devoted enough to care. 

The Good House is a rather bad house after all. Closer to that of Monster House, where there are cement-clad horrors in the basement of Steve Buscemi’s home. The man cannot catch a break. Neither can audiences who will sit and skip through The Good House searching for a moment of colour or character. Drab and wholly romanticised with the idea of leaving life behind in search of the open sea, neither Wolodarsky nor Forbes do much to convince of their purpose and story. At least Delany is a firm pair of hands. It is hard not to find love for the likes of Weaver and Delaney, although their wooden displays of dialogue and fear of devotion to moving scenes, the cut away to the charmless fourth-wall breaking explainers, are frequent and objectively terrible storytelling.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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