colin...’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hot. Take. Time.
This is neither a great film nor a bad film. However, this is definitely one of the most tone deaf films that I have ever seen. For half of the film we get a stupid farcical comedy where almost none of the comedy works, at all. The majority of the humor falls under the umbrella of "hehe Nazis r dum in movie, it funny bcuz Nazis r dum for opinion, therefore no need to write actual creative joke hehe," and that honestly bothers the shit out of me. With such an interesting premise, there are a multitude of ways that one could create some clever and interesting satire without taking the cheap route of playing the Nazis as idiots. Or, if they were committed to the idea of being farcical about this film, then they should have made the whole film a farce, which brings me to the second half.
The other half of this film is an emotionally driven tale about a boy finding out about issues with the establishment and how in children, the nature of humanity is easier to influence them. This part, especially the last half an hour or so, was something that I absolutely loved and thought was a rather sweet take on things, especially considering how good both Jojo and Elsa are in their interactions with each other. So, my solution would be to cut out imaginary Hitler, which was the reason it was so hard to distribute and pitch, and in all fairness, wasn't even that necessary other than to tell the audience the opposite of how Jojo should be feeling and/or acting. Also, cut out Rebel Wilson, who adds absolutely nothing to the film whatsoever except for... actually nothing. And finally, cut out the first fifteen minutes. The film didn't need that stupid scene depicting Nazi youth camps as summer camps and it added to the tone deaf nature of the film at its core. Just opening on Jojo after the accident would have been suffice enough.
As I said in the beginning, it's not a good film and it's not a bad film, but it could have been either one given a bit of addition of either aspect I discussed to the film. For now, it's just okay, and that's just fine with me!