Naked – Movie Review

For a while now Netflix has been pumping out some amazing original TV shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but I feel that they haven’t quite had an original movie blow up quite like their top tier shows have (Okja is probably the closest [and one I still need to watch]) so when I noticed that Naked had been released, I decided to give it a shot.  Unfortunately, while it has it’s moments, it won’t be the movie that explodes in popularity and makes Netflix known for it’s movies. Let’s get into it!

Naked stars Marlon Wayans as Rob Anderson, a substitute teacher who is about to get married to Megan Swope, played by Regina Hall. As we get into the movie, it is made abundantly clear that Rob is not a driven person and is kind of floating through his life with out any kind of drive or determination or goals. The night before the wedding, Rob sets out to have a drink or two with his Best Man and then wakes up buck-naked in a hotel elevator.  As he scrambles to get to find some clothes and get to his wedding on-time, he is soon transported right back to where he started in that elevator and again, just as naked as the day he was born.  What follows is kind of a rehash of a trope that we were first introduced to (or at least I was) in the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day, where one man continues to relive the same time over and over again until he figures out what he has to fix.

I’ll get this out of the way real quick – while this movie is fun, it can’t compete at all with Groundhog Day and Marlon Wayans is very much not peak Bill Murray. I know that’s a rather unfair comparison but the formulas of both movies are so close to each other that it’s natural to compare the two.  Wayans does a fine job in this film (not that his acting abilities needed to stretch too far to fill the role) and he does nail some of the comedic moments really well.  Other times… not so much. I will also say that he does manage to bring it in the more tender, emotional moments. Regina Hall also brings a solid performance to the movie (but again, that’s not asking much) and I was glad to see her in another movie so shortly after the absolute treat that was Girls Trip.

As for the supporting cast, they’re all serviceable and at the very least, you will have plenty of recognizable faces to look out for.  For instance, Dennis Haysbert who plays Megan’s disapproving father (you may not recognize that name but you know his face and voice, he’s the “You’re in good hands, with Allstate” guy).  Also you’ll also see Scott Foley, whom I recognize mostly from early seasons of Scrubs. There’s also an unexpected celebrity cameo that was kind of fun but felt really misplaced and, honestly, threw the movie off track for me which brings me around to a larger point – Naked has some serious pacing issues.

I knew what Naked was about and the general plot of the movie going in but my wife (who watched it with me) did not, so the twist came as a surprise to her….. once we finally got there. Naked is a relatively short movie, coming in at a breezy 96 minutes, so the fact that we don’t see Rob time  loop for the first time until 20 minutes in, roughly a fifth of the way through the movie, seemed a bit too long to wait for me. Now I will say that since I knew what was going on when I pulled this up on Netflix, so my experience would be different from someone going in cold.  When the first loop happens and you’re not expecting it, it could make for a more pleasant experience than waiting around for the plot to pop off.  I will also say that I felt all 96 minutes of this movie and that’s not good….

Earlier in this review, I mentioned that Marlon Wayans nails some of the comedic moments and other times, he doesn’t but I don’t think that is all his fault. There is some really bad writing in this movie and sometimes the comedy just falls flat on it’s face.  There are a handful of times where they try for “awkward moment” comedy and it just drags on too long, killing the moment. And there are a few moments where you just want to tell your TV “Ok, you’ve made it to the punchline and we’re still here, move on already.” With that said though, there are plenty other funny moments to latch on to especially if you enjoy time loop humor.  Again, its not Groundhog Day, but it still made me laugh more than a few times.

Guys in the end, Naked is a fun movie that entertained me enough that I didn’t feel like I wasted my time on it but I’m also glad it was on Netflix and I didn’t have to pay anything extra to see it.

Final rating:  C+

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