VOD Releases: Brother Nature (2016) - Reviewed

saturday night live, SNL, Gillian Jacobs, Bill Pullman, Bobby Moynihan
Now available on VOD
It seems somewhat odd that a month after being surprisingly released from his contract with Saturday Night Live, the Taran Killam starring comedy that was Produced by Lorne Michaels is now available for viewing on VOD. No specific reason was ever given for his departure, although Killam had speculated that it may have had something to do with potential scheduling conflicts with a directing job that he would be shooting during part of the SNL season. One then also has to ask the question, did this film have anything to do with his release? Even though the story is a somewhat formulaic romantic comedy that blends Meet the Parents with the likes of Tommy Boy and a nature hijinks movie, it has an excellent eclectic cast of actors and enough funny moments and dialogue to make this worth giving a chance.

The story involves Roger (Taran Killam), an uptight politician who plans to propose to his girlfriend Gwen (Gillian Jacobs), while they are on vacation at her family’s lake house. His plans get turned upside down when he meets his wildly adventurous potential brother in-law and full-time camp counselor Todd (Bobby Moynihan), which results in a series of outrageous events that put him at odds with Gwen’s family and their relationship. It all sounds familiar and is a classic fish out of water style tale, with events that become predictable and the typical romantic comedy tropes that everyone has come to expect. It is also surprisingly tame with no real harsh language for an R rated picture, apparently receiving the rating for some sexual references and drug content according to the MPAA.

The things that end up making this enjoyable are the cast and the eccentric characters that they all portray, along with their amusing banter and some crazy events. It includes several SNL members, including Killam, Moynihan, Kenan Thompson, and Aidy Bryant. Then there is Jacobs (Community, Love), Sarah Burns (Married), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), Rita Wilson (Sleepless in Seattle), Rachael Harris (Lucifer), David Wain (Children’s Hospital), and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley). They all perform well in their parts and each has at least one decent moment or piece of dialogue that they get to deliver. It’s hard not to compare Killam and Moynihan to David Spade and Chris Farley; because that’s the kind of comedy duo team up that they end up having in this. Killam plays the straight man and Moynihan is totally bonkers. It makes for some comical moments, but obviously they cannot live up the other duo’s memorable history together. Killam does get to show some depth and range in several important sequences of the plot. Jacobs unfortunately doesn’t get much to play with in her role, as she is more of a pawn in the story between Killam and Moynihan. Nanjiani truly stands out in his on screen time, getting and delivering some of the best lines of the movie.

saturday night live, SNL, bobby moynihan, gillian jacobs
Caution: there’s something fishy about these fellas…

The motion picture has a nice high quality look to it and the camera work is effective, mostly focusing on medium level shots in order to capture the conversations and facial expressions of the actors. There are certain moments that would spoil plot points where the camera work is superbly done. The score was a little strange at times. It was very light and playful and was almost reminiscent of the type of music that you would expect to accompany a silent comedy.
Despite being tamer than the recent theatrical releases of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and Neighbors 2, it has its entertaining moments and was really no better or worse than either of those.
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-Raul Vantassle