SUNDANCE REVIEW — “Corporate Animals”
It’s a weird one
Corporate Animals is directed by Patrick Brice, written by Sam Bain and stars Demi Moore, Ed Helms, Jessica Williams, Karan Soni, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Calum Worthy, Dan Bakkedahl, Martha Kelly, and Nasim Pedrad. It tells the story of an egotistical megalomaniac CEO taking her staff on a corporate team-building caving weekend to New Mexico. When disaster strikes, not even their useless guide can save them. Trapped underground by a cave-in, this mismatched and disgruntled group must pull together in order to survive. Corporate Animals is not for everyone and it’s got many glaring issues, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hilarious.
Patrick Brice is directing here, and if I’m being honest, I didn’t know it was him till the credits rolled. Brice truly has one of the most interesting filmographies. The Creep series is one of my favorites, but I really couldn’t get into The Overnight, and this one falls somewhere in the middle. Brice and Sam Bain bring a really weird and interesting sense of humor to something that would typically be a generic studio comedy and for the most part, it really works. It’s got this really silly David Wain type vibe to it, and for someone who enjoys that type of comedy, I loved it. Not all the jokes land and some of them fall flat on their face, but the pair really throw everything at the wall and I really admire that. I would completely understand if someone absolutely hated this, but I had a great bit of fun with it.
Corporate Animals features an all-star cast and they all kill it. Demi Moore doesn’t typically do comedy, but she fits right in here. Ed Helms, while brief, is hilarious and Jessica Williams and Karan Soni make a great pair. The two had great chemistry and had some of the best scenes. My favorite performance in the film might have actually been Calum Worthy. I still haven’t decided if he was brilliant or terrible. He has some of the dumbest, but at the same time, hilarious jokes in the movie and gives 100%. There are tons of great sequences, in particular, one where the crew is discussing the possibility of eating a dead body, and tons of sequences that I can’t tell if their awful or not, but I had a great time trying to figuring it out.
On a technical level Corporate Animals actually has quite a bit to offer considering it’s a low budget comedy. The camera work is actually pretty great. There’s tons of interesting camera movement and it never really falls into typical shot/reverse shot territory. The film doesn’t look cheap or artificial and aside from a few noticeably bad CGI shots, the visual effects were quite well done. The ending of the film feels a bit rushed and honestly thrown together, but everything before it is so silly and weird that I can’t help but enjoy it. That’s not to say this is a masterpiece, I’d even struggle to say that it’s a great film. It’s the definition of a guilty pleasure and I have a soft spot for it.
In short, Corporate Animals is not for everyone, but it was definitely for me. 2.5/5