Charlie Countryman Movie Review
In life, there are good choices, and there are bad choices. Like when you find out that beautiful woman you're pursuing is married to a violent crime boss, you should run in the other direction. Some choices are less clear, however, such as deciding whether the new Shia LaBeouf movie Charlie Countryman is worth seeing.
LaBeouf plays the title character, an American who ends up as the accidental travel companion of a dead man while traveling to Romania. Once on the ground, he falls in love with the dead man's daughter (Evan Rachel Wood). They have immediate chemistry, but she's also involved with a not-so-friendly dude (Mads Mikkelsen) who likes to kill people.
Charlie Countryman falls into the "people" category.
Charlie Countryman is sort of a romantic comedy that is not very funny or romantic, and also a thriller that isn't very thrilling. Yet there is something oddly alluring about the movie, primarily because you don't know exactly what direction the story is going to go. The original title was "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman," and given that the movie begins with LaBeouf getting dropped off the side of the building, there's the sincere possibility that he could die. But it's not too common for a title character to get killed in a comedy, even if it's only a sort-of comedy.
So who knows.
LaBeouf does a good enough job in the title role and Wood is nearly unrecognizable as Gabi, though her role is hardly award worthy and Shia LaBeouf essentially looks and sounds like Shia LaBeouf. Mikkelsen gets the best character by far, and he relishes in the villain role (though he played a better villain in Casino Royale). None of the actors will claim Charlie Countryman as their best movie.
That's because the plot is just sort of strange, and not necessarily in a good way. As unpredictable as the movie is, it also lacks purpose. Am I supposed to laugh? Want to have the two leads get together in the end? Be kept on the edge of my seat? Want Shia LaBeouf to die? It has a confused tone and I'm not even sure if director Fredrik Bond knew what he was making. The movie meanders from one plot element to the next, and while it flows well enough in hindsight, none of it makes a lot of sense. Charlie makes so many stupid decisions it's hard to be supportive of him by the time the ending rolls around.
Charlie Countryman isn't a terrible movie, but its inconsistent tone and ultimately shrugworthy story makes this one comedy-thriller that can be skipped. There are good choices and bad choices, and unfortunately Charlie Countryman is a bad choice.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.