‘Don’t Look Up’ Movie Review: Hilarious Until It Hits You

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It’s absurd to think of how the world America would react to the news that a planet killer was headed straight towards Earth, but Don’t Look Up manages to capture every hilarious aspect to perfection until you realize that perhaps the movie isn’t that far off from the truth and that we are all doomed.

Don’t Look Up brings together an all-star cast to overact their hearts out for a script straight out of America’s headlines. From science deniers to capitalistic moguls to dirty politicians. When doctoral candidate Kate Dibiasky, played by the firey Jennifer Lawrence, discovers a comet, her professor, Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), makes a disturbing revelation that the new mega comet is on a direct path with Earth. Despite going to multiple scientists and verifying the data, not many people choose to believe what they are hearing.

Meryl Streep - Don't Look Up
DON’T LOOK UP, MERYL STREEP as PRESIDENT JANIE ORLEAN. Cr. NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX © 2021

The idea that the President (Meryl Streep) would prefer to sit on the information until they found a scientist, no matter their specialty, to give them an answer they can stomach. Or that the hottest celebrity couple gossip is more important than the world ending. Sound familiar? America thinks they are the only ones that can save the planet or that the USA makes all the world’s decisions. 

“We’re all looking down at our phones, being fed information being told what to think and nobody’s looking up at what’s really happening in the world,” Tyler Perry says. “Nobody’s looking up at what is important, like climate change. And taking care of each other. ”

I can’t tell you how many times I choked on my popcorn while watching this movie. I’ll take Jonah Hill and Jennifer Lawrence together in a room for hours just to hear them take jabs at each other. The witty banter, which was heavily improvised, makes the film an entertaining 2 hours and 18 minutes. Make sure to stay for some mid-credits fun as well.

Jonah Hill - Don't Look Up
DON’T LOOK UP, JONAH HILL as JASON ORLEAN. Cr. NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX © 2021

“Jonah Hill is the greatest at improv,” Jennifer Lawrence says. “I mean, he’s just the master of comedic improv. So there was one day where the entire day was just him improving insults at me. It was the best day of my life.”

Adam McKay’s script is the perfect example of life imitating art. While it started as a poke at the climate crisis, they shot the movie when COVID hit and turned the world into chaos, placing the story in the perfect position to highlight what continues to fail us.

“At the end of the day, when I looked at the script, I realized the script was never really about the pandemic, or I mean, it’s obviously inspired by the climate crisis, but it was really about how we’ve just broken and shattered the ways that we talk to each other, and so I actually felt like that jumped out even more after this,” says director Adam McKay.

Don't Look Up
DON’T LOOK UP (L to R) CATE BLANCHETT as BRIE EVANTEE, TYLER PERRY as JACK BREMMER, LEONARDO DICAPRIO as DR. RANDALL MINDY, JENNIFER LAWRENCE as KATE DIBIASKY, Cr. NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX © 2021

My hope is that the scientific community might feel seen in their constant struggle to prove their work against conspiracy theories and other forces and be able to laugh at the absurdity of the film and hilarious cast of characters.

“It was incredibly timely,” Leonardo DiCaprio says. “Especially when the scientific community has given us a nine-year window to make this transition as far as the climate crisis is concerned of how Adam wrote the script before COVID hit, which was a whole new level of the denial of the scientific community. This movie, I think all of us felt not only the fact that we wanted to work together work with Adam but at this specific turning point in history, there was nothing more important to do than to sort of recreate the narrative. Start to take a mirror to ourselves and society and media and politics and realize that the consequences of what will happen if we continue to not act on this issue. So I keep saying this, but I looked at it as an incredible gift and one that we’ll all look back on and feel completely connected to, as far as its message.”

Don't Look Up
DON’T LOOK UP (L to R) JONAH HILL as JASON ORLEAN, PAUL GUILFOYLE as GENERAL THEMES, MARK RYLANCE as PETER ISHERWELL, MERYL STREEP as PRESIDENT JANIE ORLEAN. Cr. NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX © 2021

Don’t Look Up is in select theaters December 9th and streaming on Netflix December 24th.

Synopsis –

Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), an astronomy grad student, and her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), make an astounding discovery of a comet orbiting within the solar system. The problem — it’s on a direct collision course with Earth. The other problem? No one really seems to care. Turns out warning mankind about a planet-killer the size of Mount Everest is an inconvenient fact to navigate. With the help of Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), Kate and Randall embark on a media tour that takes them from the office of an indifferent President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her sycophantic son and Chief of Staff, Jason (Jonah Hill), to the airwaves of The Daily Rip, an upbeat morning show hosted by Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry). With only six months until the comet makes impact, managing the 24-hour news cycle and gaining the attention of the social media obsessed public before it’s too late proves shockingly comical — what will it take to get the world to just look up?!

DON’T LOOK UP is written and directed by Academy Award winner Adam McKay (The Big Short) and also stars Mark Rylance, Ron Perlman, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi), Himesh Patel, Melanie Lynskey, Michael Chiklis and Tomer Sisley.

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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