A likable guy pursues his office crush with the help of his evil talking pets, but things turn sinister when she stands him up for a date.
Directed by Marjane Satrapi, ‘The Voices’ is an off kilter black comedy that never really settles into its groove. It stars Ryan Reynolds as Jerry, a man who works at a plumbing factory and lives alone whilst suffering from severe hallucinations as a result of not taking his medication. At work, he’s seen as a bit of a weirdo and a loner, whilst outside work he doesn’t have much of a social life to speak off beyond regular sessions with his counsellor (Jacki Weaver). He takes an interest in English colleague Fiona (Gemma Arterton), who is clearly not interested, although her friend and colleague Lisa (Anna Kendrick) is, and Jerry’s attempts to get Fiona to go on a date with him fuel the initial premise of the movie.
Jerry’s hallucinations primarily manifest themselves through his two pets, a cat and a dog, who seem to talk to him with the cat representing the bad part of his decision process, and the dog the good part (not unlike the devil and the angel metaphor). This creates some humour but the film is never sure whether to play things for laughs or to treat this as a study of mental illness, and the film is muddled as a result. Satrapi never knows whether she’s trying to make a wacky comedy or a mental illness drama and the end result is frankly rather tasteless.
It’s a shame because the film features a very strong Ryan Reynolds performance, and his performance is left stranded amidst a tonally inconsistent script that never knows what it wants to be. There could have been promise in a satirical black comedy a la ‘American Psycho‘ if the film and the actors were fully prepared to commit, but each performance feels like it comes from a different movie and there’s not enough here to make it work. Ultimately, ‘The Voices’ is a tasteless misfire that wastes an excellent Ryan Reynolds performance.
Directed By: Marjane Satrapi
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver