After two boys get in a violent confrontation their parents meet up to discuss what to do. Initially cheerful proceedings slowly descend in to chaos as each of their true sides starts to be revealed and they all come to hate one another.
The film succeeds when the comedy is kept realistic, which is helped by it being set in real time and all in one location. The vomit scene is probably one of the only scenes to not make me laugh, but even then the events that result from it make it worthwhile. The slow burn of some of the jokes is particularly brilliant (especially the phone joke).
At its heart, Roman Polanski’s film is really a character piece, so its success or failure is on the cast’s head. Thankfully the four leads (and only characters) are all excellent, each having their own distinct personality and mannerisms.
Jodie Foster starts off quiet and reserved before revealing a deep political agenda. John C. Reilly appears to be whipped by his wife, but then reveals a deep seated hatred for her. Kate Winslet goes from mediator to a little psychotic, while Christoph Waltz stands out as the best of the quartet, getting the wittiest lines as the straight man of the lot but even his mood darkens. The ways these characters eventually snap is very lifelike, each having their own breaking point before admitting this is the worst day of their life.
In terms of special features all you get are four interviews with the cast analysing the film, which while interesting are a bit too long. There’s also the original trailer.
Overall Verdict: A great character piece about stretching people to the breaking point that is surprisingly funny.
Interviews with each of the cast analysing the film.
Reviewer: Matthew Mallinson