Published Sep 12, 2017Copenhagen director Mark Raso's second feature film wishes it were steeped in the tangible mediums of a more meaningful past, but it feels like a MP3 masquerading as a master tape.
SNL alum Jason Sudeikis stars as Matt, a floundering independent record label's A&R scout working for a manager that forces him to attempt the impossible: do one last big signing or lose his job.
Strange circumstances dictate that if he wants some one-on-one time with the band, he'll have to drive his estranged father, Ben (Ed Harris) — a famed photographer nearing the end of his life — and his live-in nurse, Zooey (Elizabeth Olsen, playing an uncharacteristically one-dimensional character), from New York City to Kansas. The reason: Kodachrome film (hence the title). The final Kodak plant that processes it is closing down, and Matt's father wants to personally deliver his last four rolls, even though he's unsure of what's on them.
The premise is far-fetched and schmaltzy (you better believe sparks fly between Matt and Zooey, especially when they discover their equally damaged romantic pasts), but that's not as bad as Kodachrome's characters' supposed cred, which is as legit as a Crosley turntable bought on sale at Urban Outfitters.
The film's crammed with shameless namedropping that's about as cool as a 16-year-old's MySpace profile (Matt prides himself on almost signing Coldplay and Arcade Fire before they were famous, as well as his vinyl collection from when he was a "moody teenager," which includes such unknowns as Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Radiohead) and the kind of analog adoration usually reserved for basement-dwelling dads stuck in loveless marriages.
Its settings are equally devoid of depth. Kodachrome posits itself as a modern day road movie, but spends more time holed up in hotel rooms, hospitals and distant family members' houses than it does on the asphalt.
It feels cheap, especially when one realizes that this rather unglamorous-looking drama was shot entirely on Kodak film, bought by Netflix to be broadcast digitally, anytime you want it, on tablets, Apple TVs and the like in homes across North America, and therefore likely to be watched by couples just trying to fall asleep.
Kodachrome is a contradiction, but not an interesting one. (Netflix)