Netflix swings and misses yet again with this painfully unfunny throwback to the Eddie Murphy style of multiple same actor character comedies that we all knew and loved in the late nineties. Now two decades later the style is back, and unfortunately it has left the clever filmmaking behind. While I have a soft spot for almost everything Marlon Wayans puts himself into, Sextuplets wasn't even palatable.
Michael Tiddes, director of the two most recent Marlon Wayans pictures, A Haunted House and Naked, returns to direct this latest effort from the actor. Tiddes is known for his over the top comedic direction, and he doesn't let that go here, ruining a few sincere moments with a lack of knowledge as to how to properly execute comedy mixed with drama. Without polished direction, transitions from scene to scene become awkward moments between the different Wayans characters standing close to one another (a risk of this type of film). Tiddes has unfortunately placed himself in a tough spot, as while his other films (even the atrocious parody of Fifty Shade of Gray, Fifty Shades of Black) had some energy to them and occasional funny moments, it was clear what the writing and direction was trying to accomplish; this is something that can't be said here for Sextuplets.
A numbing feeling came over me as I completed only ten minutes of the film. Could I finish this? I found the strength and managed it, however that didn't stop me from noticing the constant faults of the inadequate storytelling. At times the story leads the characters in ways that feels as though Wayans needed to carry the story along just far enough so he could perform as all 6 of his characters; it's a road trip that lacks the 'road' after the second sibling is found - and it's safe to say that the "road trip" ended and a rush to the end began for the filmmakers.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Any actor that is able to give a performance (multiplied by seven) that at moments comes off genuine and authentic to the character they are trying to play wins in my book. However, Wayans may be cleverly portraying the characters in a way that for some, similar to myself, forget it is actually him behind the hours of makeup. It doesn't make up for the fact that the characters are incredibly outdated stereotypes; which I must include that he himself admits to doing so in the actual film. Wayans is playing seven different versions of himself and while that is in itself worthy of a little applause, it doesn't help that many of his characters are so demeaning and charmless, wasting precious screentime from the wonderful talents of Michael Ian Black & Molly Shannon.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Composer John Debney has a ton of credits under his belt, and with many being less than memorable outings, he does manage to produce a few decent films with an excellent score to make it even better. With Sextuplets he missed the mark almost entirely, leaving a bad film in even worse shambles due to the score lacking any originality. Every scene in the film is paired with a section of Debney's score that highlights just how outdated the idea of this film is in the first place, constantly referencing through the music much more efficient scores in cinematic history.
As mentioned earlier, the fact that Wayans went through hours of makeup for each character is ridiculous, however the character makeup is by far the most astonishing quality of the film. While stereotypical and not at all funny like the filmmakers intended, there were truly moments where I forgot Wayans was behind the makeup. The digital effects are a completely separate story, as when they are used, which is surprisingly rare, they are disastrous. A cringe worthy moment of poor CGI happens at the beginning of the road trip with a digital bull showing up to wreak havoc upon the newly discovered siblings; the animal is in action the entire time it's on screen, and it looks absolutely horrendous. The other largely noticeable moment is with one of Wayans’ smaller on-screen characters whose face is horribly rendered onto another actors body. The scene is worthless and lacks any comedic levity to ignore the awful effects.
Things have certainly gone downhill for Marlon Wayans since the release of the original Scary Movie in 2000, as from there on he would release countless parody films with his family name that progressively got less and less funny. Now we see this throwback style of comedy coming back more and more often, including Wayans’ previous two outings capitalizing on an old trend. Wayans somehow still managed to hone in on a little more originality than his career defining parody films. Want to know if you should go back in time and watch this trainwreck? It's up to you, but if you truly want my advice, do yourself a favor and absolutely avoid this travesty of a comedy that Netflix should have never funded to begin with.