brendanowicz’s review published on Letterboxd:
Obviously since I held out for this long, I felt cynical about the possibility that I would get anything from this experience. But movies are not their marketing, or their discourse, and something that moves this many people I feel at least some curiosity about. And I was on its side instantly. All the fundamentals of a true classic are here: a lived-in setting, memorable performers acting with commitment, every bit part cast to perfection (Tallie Medel! Jenny Slate! Detective Crashmore!), filmmakers with a sense of composition and timing, the ability to guide the audience’s attention through a space with framing and montage. Then within ten minutes of introducing its high concept it lost me again.
Look, I actually like Rick and Morty, so I’m not even necessarily outside the target audience for something like this. But those episodes are 22 minutes long, and where Roiland and Harmon would keep piling gags aboard so you don’t have to reflect too hard on the shallowness of the core concepts, the Daniels keep pumping the brakes and insisting that you feel something. No judgment to anyone who did (cf. Mark Asch's capsule, there is some emotional ballast to be found here), I just disagree that this is a sound way to make a movie, or the way this one should have been made. At the center is a Jonze/Kaufman style movie about these characters and their laundromat and that could have been enough. Everything else piled atop that story feels like a sales pitch.
I’ve mentioned this before but when I watch movies with my dad, he has this Pavlovian response to a certain screenwriting beat, right before the third act when the characters split up and spend a few minutes looking sad before they reunite to resolve their differences in the climax. Every time the sad music hits he does the same thing: heavy sigh, looks at his feet. It’s a funny tic but it’s also an honest response to something that is transparent bullshit. And that’s the whole second half of this movie.