Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ½

I feel kind of terrible at how disappointed I am, and it's definitely my fault for hyping this up for myself. Jojo Rabbit is a movie that should work for me, that should make me laugh if not completely fall for its messages within – and while it seems everyone I know is getting a lot out of this, I just don't really get anything at all.

So far I've only seen three of Waititi's other works, but at least to me they all feel far stronger with his signature humor greatly benefiting them. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a coming-of-age, and utilizes his humor to accentuate character growth; What We Do in the Shadows marries mockumentary and myth, and the humor serves to make it absurd; and Thor: Ragnarok had a bonkers energy that made you always guess what was coming up next while the humor allowed you moments of relapse between those phenomenal highs.

But Jojo Rabbit feels like a rare misstep as the humor seems to clash with its crux theme. For a satirical movie about the Nazi regime, you need to fully commit one way or another. This movie does not feel like it does and safely sits on the fence where it says it says a lot but doesn't say much at all. Jokes about Hitler and caricatured Nazis can be useful tools to de-legitimize their presence, certainly. But then it's content simply broaching that subject rather than fully exploring it, and some dubious character development at the end really muddies up what I think it's trying to do.

I'm probably being far to cynical, but when Jojo Rabbit presents its politics I just don't really particularly care. It's like this: your coworker complains yet again about "drumpf", your older auntie call him "orange anus" at Thanksgiving, a news anchor say "cheeto" for the fiftieth time, etcetera etcetera etcetera. That's great, Trump is bad, and...? And what? Oh, there never was anything more – that's what Jojo Rabbit feels like to me. "Nazis are bad! Hitler is bad! ... that's it, I had nothing else to say."

[Joint-review with Hay, Lindsay, and Margot on All That Film here | spoiler discussion here]

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