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In Action
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by Erik Childress

"Where Are The Raiders Kids When You Need Them?"
1 stars

While distribution and profit may still elude artists, movies have never been easier to make. At this point “everyone’s a critic” is being gained on in numbers from the “anyone can be a filmmaker” demographic. Steven Soderbergh is shooting on iPhones. TikTok is quickly becoming a new form of short film. All you need is a camera, time and commitment and you too can create something that you can call a movie. Take Sean Kenealy and Eric Silvera. They are together in nearly every frame of their movie, In Action. There is not a whole lot of motion to this picture and if it is not on screen, the duo will find a way to explain what is happening. But just because it meets the minimal standards for what constitutes a feature-length running time does not mean it satisfies the basic ones for what passes as entertainment.

Sean and Eric, the writers and directors, also star as Sean and Eric, two former film school buddies who now find themselves stripped and tied up for interrogation. What got them to this point? As they sit on the couch in present day and explain the story to us, they reconnected at a party (that only shows the two of them in separate corners of a room) and psyched themselves back into writing again. Sean is frustrated with his homelife as a stay-at-home dad and Eric’s career at an advertising agency had become pretty stale until a helicopter comes crashing into his office (visualized through animation.)

Inspired by the impending nuptials at the real world White House, the pair begin crafting a screenplay where terrorists take over the wedding of the President’s daughter. The writing itself boils down to a series of cliches meant to be in on the joke of putting together the kind of explosive action vehicle they grew up with in the 1980s. Except researching things that go boom can get one flagged and as they are snatched up for questioning the friends find that they may have to become the action heroes they have only written about to get free.

There is nothing too original about ordinary folks finding themselves in the real-life situations they only play-acted with. You can chart that from Cloak and Dagger to Three Amigos to Tropic Thunder. Given the extreme limitations of a one-camera, two-location setup, it falls to Kenealy and Silvera to deliver both jokes and exposition in a manner that would have tested even the most legendary comic duos. Unfortunately, they will not be mistaken for that class nor would they be welcome showing up for an attempt at a scene-stealing one-off. Running jokes including lewd sexual innuendos and one of them being averse to swearing are about the best they got. After a while we just want to tell these two to shut up and hope they get renditoned.

Even Saturday Night Live employs less-than-skillful performers (and even worse writers) but In Action’s problems rest even greater with the writing. Kenealy and Silvera may have only been their own victim in front of the camera if their idea found a way to freshly satirize action films and especially their creation. Like Del Griffith’s stories though it’s amazing that it has none of that. Stringing together a bunch of Steven Seagal, Jackie Chan, Stallone and Schwarzenegger movies to form a plot (yes, the joke is done four times straight) and throwing in a nod to old Sunny Delight commercials is hardly enough to blame the film simply on bad use of the frame and poor delivery. When you think back on how three kids were nearly able to finish a shot-by-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Arm and then have to struggle to get through a mercifully short 75 minutes of In Action, it’s a real reminder that just because you have a camera does not mean you should make a movie.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=34436&reviewer=198
originally posted: 05/16/21 20:15:31
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Directed by
  Sean Kenealy
  Eric Silvera

Written by
  Sean Kenealy
  Eric Silvera

  Sean Kenealy
  Eric Silvera

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