What would you do if you knew you only had a few months or weeks to live? Isn’t that the question that everyone always tries to answer? Would you quit your job? Tell the people closest to you how you feel? Go skydiving? Many films have tried to take this theme and run with it. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is based solely on this question, but the answer to it falls flat, fails at the comedy they try to give us, and is without heart.

Henry Altmann (Robin Williams) is an angry person. He practically hulks out at everyone if they so much as get in his way. To say he has anger management problems is an understatement. But Henry wasn’t always this angry. He apparently used to have a more pleasant demeanor until his son Peter died two years prior. After his son’s death, he drove away his wife (Melissa Leo) and his youngest son Tommy (Hamish Linklater), and doesn’t hang around much with his brother Aaron (Peter Dinklage).

Enter Dr. Gill (Mila Kunis), whose affair with another doctor leads her to cover his shifts when Henry comes in for a checkup. Henry is angry, irate, and irritable about everything. Dr. Gill is annoyed, frustrated with her life and is popping pills left and right. So when the two of them clash, things escalate. She informs him that he’s got an aneurysm that is large and fatal. He asks her how much time he’s got left to live and in their angry tirade and frustration with each other, she tells him that he’s only got 90 minutes left to live. Henry runs out of their to go and try to fix his life in the hour and a half he’s given and Dr. Gill and his family end up on a wild goose chase across Brooklyn to find him and get him to the hospital.

What the film lacks is an overall driving force. There’s a lot of screaming, angry outbursts, and voice-overs regaling us with what the characters are feeling or have been doing, but there isn’t any heart to the characters or the situation. Sure, the filmmakers show us glimpses into Henry being happy and into his old life, but his character is all over the place and so is everyone else. It’s almost like watching a big circus of clowns running around because they’ve lost their nice shiny noses.

Talented cast members like Melissa Leo and Peter Dinklage aren’t really given much to do and their presence doesn’t feel genuine. Mila Kunis hates her life and grieves for her cat, but there isn’t much to go on in terms of trying to sympathize with her, and Robin Williams is just angry the entire time which eventually grates on the nerves. These characters are trying to teach us the lesson of not waiting until the last moment to try to fix your life and to try and be happy, but the moral of the story gets lost in the din of all the shouting and running around and just doesn’t feel genuine.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn will not make you happy, but will actually make you angry for choosing to see this film when you could have been doing something else. The film doesn’t have any heart and tries too hard, making you frustrated because it feels like it is thrown together haphazardly. The comedic aspect is practically nonexistent. Constant yelling and running around is not what most people consider to be funny. The film ultimately fails in making light of a situation that isn’t really funny to begin with and lacks any sophistication or maturity in its subject matter.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is now in select theaters and on video on demand.


About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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