Starring: Patton Oswalt, Johnny Knoxville, Rob Riggle
Director: Todd Rohal
Running Time: 79 mins
Nature Calls is an American film about a group of children whose super sleepover is hijacked by a fanatical boy scout leader, leading their parents to embark on a frantic search to get them back before the day is out.
Frantic and silly comedies are generally fine by me, but Nature Calls wasn’t a film that I ever had that much fun watching. Despite a couple of good laughs here and there in the middle of a light-hearted and easy-going atmosphere, the film is an excessively loud and screechy affair, with the majority of jokes resorting to loud noises and over-the-top slapstick, never shutting up for a moment to give a rest from what is ultimately a rather irritating and stressful watch throughout.
But before we get into that, let’s start on the bright side. While I wasn’t rolling on the floor laughing at this movie, I will admit that it did have a couple of moments that did make me chuckle.They’re not particularly memorable or original, but within the film’s light-hearted atmosphere, they’re enough to spark a smile or two from time to time, something that I really appreciated in the midst of a barrage of less-than-hilarious humour.
What’s more is that, although most aren’t great, there are a couple of performances that are fairly enjoyable at times. Patton Oswalt is easily the most entertaining person in the movie, with as silly and cuddly a performance as usual, as well as enough of a childlike innocence to make you smile. Also, although she doesn’t play as central a role as her male co-stars, Maura Tierney does play up the role of a stressed-out mother having to deal not only with a load of kids, but also juvenile adults all around her – proving a welcome calm presence in the middle of all that shouting.
However, all that shouting is exactly why this film really isn’t as fun as it should be. Yes, it’s easy-going and deliberately silly, but that doesn’t mean that you should be pummelled with shrill screaming and random punching at nearly every minute.
In similar fashion to how films like American Pie just don’t let up on the toilet humour, this film just refuses to calm down for a second and actually bring in some well-written, intelligent comedy to give you a proper chance to laugh. Of course, your enjoyment of this film will heavily depend on how tolerant you are of what can only be described as pure idiocy – if you can bare more than half an hour, then you should be okay – but that’s no cause for praise, as it reinforces just how irritating and painful this film is to watch.
It moves along at a frantic speed that’s unfathomable even to Star Trek, and it blasts random noises from Johnny Knoxville and Rob Riggle’s mouths at you at four billion decibels, meaning that, even when there are moments of respite or genuinely funny comedy, they’re genuinely drowned out by infuriatingly loud and childish shenanigans, and that’s why I’m giving Nature Calls a 6.2 overall.