Black comedy is a tricky art and should be left to people who know what they are doing. The people behind Nobel Son pretty obviously don't...
In Nobel Son takes an "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to black
comedy that simply results in a complete mess of a movie. It's as if the
filmmakers believed that the inclusion of quirky characters, random plot twists,
and bizarre violence in a movie are in and of themselves enough to make one a
cool cult movie. The movie starts off as one of those films that love to
dwell on highly intellectual but highly dysfunctional families and then becomes
a kidnapping caper flick which relies very heavily on convenient coincidence and
a very healthy suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience, all of which
is packed into the movie's first half. From there it becomes a meandering
revenge and double-cross story so convoluted that you'll be constantly checking
your watch and wondering when it will all end. And when it does, it is all
wrapped-up so sloppily and conveniently you'll wonder why you even bothered
sticking it out to the end.
The characters in the film seem to be there primarily because the writer
believed that viewers would simply love how quirky they are. Alan Rickman plays a pompous, elitist, and
philandering chemist who wins the Nobel prize, Mary Steenburgen plays his
practical police investigator wife who somehow does not loathe her husband
anywhere near as much as everyone else around them does, and Bryan Greenberg
plays their pouty son who is working on a graduate thesis on cannibalism.
Add to this mix are a sex-crazed and quirky poetess, a revenge-minded used car
salesman who is an intellectual mastermind, and Danny DeVito as a neighbor who
is a simple-minded obsessive-compulsive. They are all far less interesting
than they may sound and far more annoying, and none of the characters are
developed much beyond the descriptions above. Save your movie watching
time and money for something made by people that know what they are doing.