The question of the day is who is the angriest man in Brooklyn? The film of the same name, Angriest Man in Brooklyn, would lead you to believe that Robin Williams is that man. However, anyone who has been to Brooklyn before (or any major city for that matter) would question the validity of this self-imposed title.
Director Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams) does his best to bring truth to the title, and at times it seems he succeeds when watching Williams fly throughout Brooklyn in an attempt to make amends for his past two years of anger towards anyone and everyone standing in his way.
Opening the film to a happy memory of Henry Altman (Williams) and his family playing at a picnic, we see Altman turn to his wife to tell her “I’m happy.” Fast-forward 25 years to Altman sitting in traffic on his way to a doctor’s appointment until he is t-boned by a taxi. Cue the first sign of his incurable anger. At the doctor’s office Altman learns has a brain aneurism that could burst at any moment. While learning of his tragic fate, Altman takes out his anger yet again on a bystander, this time on an inter-doctor played by the beautiful and energetic Mila Kunis. Dr. Gill (Kunis) gets flustered with her new patient and decides to tell him that he only has 90 minutes to live with his aneurism. Anger and hilarity ensue, as Altman must make his last 90 minutes of life count.
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn paces itself nicely, but at times can’t decide what kind of film it wants to be which ultimately is its downfall. Filtered with narration by both Williams and Kunis’ characters, there is a gentle trade off between the angry tones brought on by Altman and an attempt at self-reflection by both characters reminiscent of 2006’s Stranger Than Fiction.
Much of the film feels rushed as Altman’s life unfolds on screen. We learn the cause of all the anger comes from the passing of one of his sons two years ago and he just never recovered. While that plot line gets the most attention (rightfully so), there are also secondary plots that get swept under the rug and not given the time that they deserve, i.e. potential affairs, strained brother relationship, etc. Given the stellar cast of Robins and Kunis, not to mention Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as Altman’s brother and Melissa Leo (The Fighter) as his wife, expectations are high going into the film. However with all that talent, there just isn’t enough screen time to go around when the film and its title center on the protagonist (Williams). Shaky at times and disruptive to the story, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn attempts to deliver a film that is worthy of its cast but falls short. Some may walk away form the film a bit annoyed, given that this so-called angriest man has only been angry for a couple of years and before that had been known as pleasant and a good family man. Perhaps it’s that the retribution for his anger is not the payout you hope for since it has only been present for two years. Had it been a lifetime of anger it may bring us deeper into the story.
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn can be seen on Video On-Demand now, and will be available on Blu-ray and DVD July 22nd.