Let’s face it, most of us probably spend too much time on our devices. And we don’t spend enough time with each other. To make matters worse, we may lose power, Wi-Fi or cellular service/ When that happens, we don’t know what to do with ourselves and panic. It doesn’t have to be that way however. And perhaps taking a sabbatical from technology is a good idea to help rebuild relationships and get a breath of fresh air. That’s the basic premise of the new movie Unplugging. But unfortunately while it is an interesting idea for a film, it comes off as flat and boring.
Dan (Matt Walsh, Veep) is a work at home Dad who make hot sauce for a living while in-between jobs. And his wife Jeanine (Eva Longoria, Desperate Housewives) is a workaholic. She freaks out whenever she’s more than two feet away from her phone. After a friend passes away Dan comes up with an idea. He thinks two of them to go on a weekend long retreat without their devices. In doing so, they can reconnect with each other and the world around them. Unfortunately for them things don’t go exactly as planned. And they end up more isolated than expected, surrounded by an assortment of oddball characters in the middle of nowhere.
Unplugging has a great concept, but unfortunately it’s poorly executed. Having a couple find themselves while being disconnected from technology had a lot of potential. But somewhere along the way the movie makes a choice. One to make them surrounded by what can only be described as total insanity. Drones seemingly following the couple around, and bizarre power outages and a lack of cellular signals. The strange events would have been a good way to advance the plot on their own. But the writers decided to take it a step further and make the town full of oddball characters.
These characters include a bar/gas station owner who likes to draw nude pictures of his customers and a paranoid local who thinks the army is out to get her. Unfortunately the characters aren’t funny at all, and only muddle things up. To make matters worse, the story continues to get more and more ridiculous as it goes along making the audience tune out and no longer care. It tries to be funny, but it’s far from it.
It’s hard to say if it was the poor writing that was causing Walsh and Longoria to look lost, or if they really didn’t enjoy being in the film. It might have been a little bit of both, as their characters made odd choices at times, and both actors fell flat delivering their performance. What’s even more confusing is that Walsh was one of the writers, so you’d think he’d have created a better role for himself. Both Walsh and Longoria have more potential than what they showed here.
Unplugging feels like a TV movie, and a bad one at that. It’s something most people would probably skip past after watching a few minutes, and not return to. While there are a couple of genuinely funny moments, and the basic idea is interesting, neither are enough to make it worth watching.