Review – Barney’s Version

I once heard a film critic say that a good film had them stuck to the back of their seat, while a bad film had them jumping around in their seat like a kid who forgot to take their Ritalin. During ‘Barney’s Version’ I moved around so much I thought the back of my seat was going to break off and crush the granny sitting behind me. Barney’s Version’ is the story of Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) a loud mouth chain smoking television producer who reflects on the highs and lows of his life after a tell all book is published about his life. ‘Barney’s Version’ is a very dull film with terrible pacing, a badly typecast Paul Giamatti and zero humour, the presence of Dustin Hoffman is a highlight but sadly not enough to liven things up.

Paul Giamatti drives ‘Barney’s Version’ playing a very unlikable character that has zero redeeming characteristics. The filmmakers try hard to make you cheer for him but it never comes off the way it should. A textbook example is recently in ‘The Social Network’ with the portrayal of Mark Zuckerburg, despite the fact he was a complete arsehole you still had sympathy for him. Giamatti just bumbles through the movie in his unique paranoid style that has made him famous. Giamatti has been badly typecast in this film; need a fat loudmouthed paranoid guy? Call Giamatti! The supports are solid with Minnie Driver and Rosmound Pike putting in good performances as well as Dustin Hoffman who is in fine form despite his short screen time.

The pacing of ‘Barney’s Version’ is painfully slow made even worse by a thin plot that is predictable from the outcome. With not a lot going on there are some attempts at humour in the dialogue but none of it manages work especially when the vulgarities come across as just crude.

‘Barney’s Version’ could take the cake for being the most boring film of 2011, check it out if you love Paul Giamatti but you might want to book yourself in for a lobotomy after.

1.5/5

The Popcorn Junkie

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