Starring: Marlon Wayans, Regina Hall, Dennis Haysbert
Director: Michael Tiddes
Running Time: 96 mins
Naked is an American film about a man who finds himself reliving the same hour before his wedding again and again after mysteriously waking up stuck in an elevator with no clothes on.
I really didn’t expect anything from this film, but I have to say that I had some really good fun with Naked. Sure, it doesn’t have anything on Groundhog Day, but it takes the same premise and uses it in a ridiculously light-hearted fashion, making for a fantastically silly and manic dash again and again throughout, with a properly entertaining central performance from Marlon Wayans.
There are two sides to this story: one about a man waking up naked in a constant time loop, and the other about a man trying to prepare himself not just for his wedding, but his entire married life. Of the two, the former is definitley the most entertaining, and fortunately takes up the majority of the story.
It may seem an incredibly juvenile premise, and nothing more than a cheap laugh, but there’s something about the sheer ridiculousness of him waking up totally naked in a lift to the same people again and again that’s actually pretty funny. And that continues on throughout the film, with enough variety in each mad dash to the church to keep things entertaining throughout, as well as enough of the same to make the situation as ridiculous as possible.
On the other hand, you have the slightly more serious story about the character trying to get things together before he gets married. In comparison to the stupidity of the naked time loop story, it’s nowhere near as entertaining, but the more dramatic side to the story does actually work thanks to some genuinely good performances and on screen chemistry.
Marlon Wayans is a lot of fun to watch throughout, but he’s not too insane and screechy to be as irritating as he often can be in movies. As a result, you do grow to like him and sympathise with him in this situation, and that really helps when it comes to delving into his character’s weaknesses in his relationship, something that’s made even more engaging thanks to some excellent chemistry with Regina Hall, making the entire fiasco of the wedding fully believable.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is the best comedy of the year, because it isn’t, but I do think it’s important that people go into this film expecting light-hearted entertainment, because that’s exactly what they’ll get.
Despite that, there are a few glaring issues that do bring the film down a bit, the biggest of which is some huge inconsistencies in its plot. These normally pop up when Wayans is going through various trials and error to find the best way to the church on time, but the issue is that some of the things he eventually ends up doing surely cancel out some of the other things he does.
For example, he’s meant to pick up the ceremony programmes on the way to the church, which he does at one point, but then in later cycles, we don’t see it on screen as he’s doing something on completely the other side of town, making it surely impossible that he would have got everything right, a little nitpick that did get on my nerves from time to time here.
What’s more is that you can’t really say that this film is using the genre and premise to its fullest potential. We always go back to Groundhog Day when this sort of story comes up, but it is a pretty much perfect template, given its combination between hilarious comedy and a beautifully heartfelt message. Naked does try to bring across some heartfelt character development and a nice message, but it doesn’t always manage it, and it’s a little disappointing when you think of what can be.
Overall, though, I had a lot of fun with this movie. Not irritating in the slightest, but rather a fantastically silly and manic mad dash across town with the added juvenile bonus of a man waking up with no clothes on, Naked is a light-hearted and easy-going watch, but one you’ll definitely enjoy, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.