There’s a quirky appeal in the early parts of The Voices, as we meet Ryan Reynolds as a shy (ha!) wallflower (right…) working a factory job (as if). Whose cat and dog talk to him, complete with CG moving mouths and funny voices (provided by Reynolds himself). Look who’s talking. The cat is crass, aloof, and murderous. The dog is needy and obliging. When Reynolds meets with his psychiatrist, played by the maternally intense Jackie Weaver, he leans forward for no reason and presses his finger into her desk. It’s the sort of random affectation that made people notice Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys. Reynolds is nothing if not earnest. Then Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick as his co-workers arrive on the scene and things get, um, complicated.
Since this is one of those bleakly black comedies, heads start rolling and blood starts splattering. The Voices squanders its quirky appeal and just gets mean and ugly, all black and no comedy. There’s a clever conceit with how the world changes when Reynolds takes his medication, but it’s more a joke of production design than perception. You’d never know The Voices was directed by Iranian expatriate Marjane Satrapi, whose graphic novel memoir Persepolis was adapted into an animated movie. This must be her Hollywood hazing.
However, it’s worth sticking with this black comedy for how it finally finds its groove during the credits. And oh boy, what a groove! This is the movie I wish I’d been watching all along. What a way to redeem ninety minutes.
The Voices is in limited release and available for video on demand. Support Qt3 and watch it on Amazon.com.