Verge Reviews: An Actor Prepares

Kew Media brings us a film entitled An Actor Prepares. Described as ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ meets “Four Weddings and a Funeral’ An Actor Prepares is a father/son road trip movie that matches two strong characters (and actors) head-to-head in the ultimate comedic face off.

In the film, Atticus Smith (Jeremy Irons) is a highly celebrated actor, whose spectacular career is matched only by his rugged good looks and effortless, devilish charm. Atticus’ estranged son, Adam (Jack Huston), is nothing like his philandering, drinking, devil-may-care father. He is a staunch feminist who teaches women’s film studies and is devoted to his girlfriend.

When a medical condition forces Atticus to hitch a ride from Los Angeles to New York to be at his daughter’s wedding, Adam becomes his only option.

The premise of this movie is not an original one. It is a concept that has been done before but charm can still be found here. 

During the opening of the film, Jeremy Irons character is distraught about receiving a lifetime award for his work as an actor. He ends the speech by saying “there’s life in this old dog” the delivery and wit of the line is exactly the type of charm that I mentioned this movie has.

Atticus Smith (Jeremy Irons)

Atticus Smith is supposed to be hated. He’s an actor who is vulgar, sexist, drinks heavily and takes drugs but I feel some people won’t accept that attitude at the moment. A lot has been unearthed in the filmmaking and acting world which is why people may find an issue here. It hits a little too close to reality. 

If you are able to look past that it becomes entertaining enough because I couldn’t actually picture Jeremy Irons ever being like this. Sadly, I think that’s also part of the reason the comedy just doesn’t click. I was left wondering whether or not parts were actually funny. 

I think it is clear that Jeremy is enjoying the role throughout the film. As if it’s a chance for him to maybe let out some rage or attitude he’s kept buried down over the years. It humours me to hear such awful things in that very British accent of his. 

The parallels between the two characters is a clear driving point of this film very early on. It feels a little over the top due to it not being very subtle with the way it differentiates the two. This did not make it less enjoyable, however, it just made me more aware of how it is clearly going to play out. This sometimes leads the comedic moments of the movie to fall flat and feel wasted. It felt like you knew what was coming next. 

Adam loathes his father. His life is vastly different and when the two become forced together, there’s a lot of tension in the air. ‘We are born to die’ vs ‘We are born to live’. In one scene Jack Hutson had Jeremy Irons crotch right in his face and if that’s not dedication to a role then I’m not sure what else is.

I’ve talked mainly about the actors/acting in this movie. This is not just because it is called ‘An Actor Prepares’ it’s because it is the main redeemable driving point. The narrative is your typical road-trip, it’s filled with craziness and chaos but feels too similar. It needed something to make it different and sadly having an actor like Jeremy take on a comedic asshole character was just not enough. 

Atticus Smith (Jeremy Irons) and Adam (Jack Huston)

By the end I was left disappointed, I hope Jeremy had as good of a time with this role as it seemed from his performance. While it may not be an exceptional movie or one of his best performances. It’s still one that is worth checking out just to see a different side of Jeremy Irons.

It might be entertaining enough for just a casual viewing. It’s not ground-breaking in any way but that doesn’t mean it deserves to be ignored either.

An Actor Prepares is out now on Digital HD