Hell and Back – A unique movie going experience to say the least
Carnival working buddies Remy (Swardson), Augie (Miller), and Curt (Riggle) try to amp up the entertainment factor, in the carnival’s main attraction, by placing an ancient book containing a picture of the devil that actually cries in front of the ride. Unfortunately, after Curt makes a blood oath with Remy and breaks it, the book opens up a portal to hell. Curt is sucked in, and Remy and Augie decide to go in and try to save their friends from eternal damnation. Once there, they realize that hell is a lot different than they expected, and if they want to save their friend they will need the help of a half-demon named Deema (Kunis) and an ancient Greek hero named Orpheus (McBride).
I don’t really know how to sum up my experience seeing “Hell and Back”, with my wife, in the theater other than to say it was unique. I say unique for a couple of reasons: 1) The type of film that “Hell and Back” is, is a rare breed. I mean it’s not every day you get to see a claymation/animated film for adults in the theater. And 2) After the movie’s opening 15 minutes, my wife and I were in the theater alone because everyone else had left in apparent disgust over the humor (or lack thereof) to that point in the film. I, however, NEVER leave a movie that I have payed my hard earned money to watch. So we stuck around, giggled at the people as they left shaking their heads, and hoped the movie would get better in the second act. It did… somewhat.
With so much comedic brilliance included in the voice cast, I was (along with the people who abandoned hope and left) surprised at the amount of frat boy, dick and fart jokes there were in the first segment of “Hell and Back”. With that said, I did feel like it got much funnier once the guys go to hell and meet up with the demonic cast of characters occupying it. Most of the laugh out loud moments come from the devil himself (Odenkirk) and Orpheus, but even then the humor seems a little to juvenile and crass (but not in a clever way).
All in all, sadly, I would recommend skipping “Hell and Back”. It is vulgar for nothing more than the sake of being vulgar, and outside of a few enjoyable moments doesn’t really pack any laugh punches. While I love the idea of animated/claymation/stop-motion films catering to adults, this one fails to impress.