Jacob_Ray’s review published on Letterboxd:
It makes sense that a film positioning itself as the voice of the generation would be as exhaustingly annoying as this.
The film is enslaved to its conceit, and becomes insufferable because of it well before it actually reaches the part where it gets to start saying what it wants to say. The entire first hour of this film is totally dedicated to explaining how the multiversal travel works. Then there’s a 15-20 minute long fight scene where they make the worst jokes you’ve ever seen, and then the emotional climaxes begin.
Oh God, the emotional climaxes. Every single character that has a speaking role gets their very own, individualized, neatly wrapped-up end to their character arc, most of which were begun only a couple of seconds before. These scenes last for the final 45 minutes of the movie, and by the time we get to the final one – the only one that actually matters – you’re so worn out from the meaningless barrage of faux-tears and humorless jokes that you can’t even muster the will to care.
The very first arc to conclude was Ke Huy Quan’s, and it landed so strongly that for a moment I was willing to forget everything the movie had subjected me to up to that point. Then they moved on to concluding the arc of the guy who wears a raccoon on his head, and I realized that the intense emotions of Ke Huy Quan’s (excellent) performance were only a fluke. This was not the climax of the movie, merely the beginning of it, and I had a whooooooooooole lot more dildo jokes and pointless side characters to get through before the end.
The humor, by the way, is barely even worth mentioning, as it is so resoundingly, insultingly unfunny that I now think less of every person who gave this a high rating. I’m not sure I even want to know why someone would find this funny. Ratatouille but with a raccoon! Butt plugs! Are you laughing yet? Okay, I’ve got to stop thinking about it; it’s making me angry.
The movie is ugly and absolutely glistening with the garish neon that characterizes so many modern films. At least it’s not drab gray. The visual style is made so much more apparently awful when they move into an alternate universe that appears to be an homage to Wong Kar-Wai, which imitates his distinctive visual style so poorly that I wasn’t sure whether it was supposed to be self-parody or not. It’s all flashy and bright and neon and monochromatic, and every single frame is absolutely stuffed with totally unnecessary… stuff. There’s no empty space. I realize that that’s the title of the movie, but the effect is bad, bad, bad.
The conclusion of the film, thematically, is the most boring, trite, top-comment-on-a-reddit-thread garbage I’ve ever seen a movie attempt to convey. Full-on 2014 edgelord atheist “we’re all just atoms on a floating space rock” drivel. Made me want to jump into the suicide bagel. The best (only good?) scene in the movie is, as mentioned above, the conclusion to Ke Huy Quan’s character’s arc, where he attempts to bring his wife back from the brink by telling her that normality is fine, and he would have lived the most boring life on earth as long as he could live it with her. Not groundbreaking stuff, but it lands, and it works. Then she shoves him out of the way and we have to deal with floating space rock shit for the next 45 minutes until the movie mercifully decides to let us go.
What else? Stephanie Hsu’s performance annoyed me; hacky and derivative. Jenny Slate is insultingly (antisemiticly?) credited as “Big Nose.” When the words “Produced by Joe and Anthony Russo” popped up in the credits, everything made sense to me. Gotta reiterate that there is not a single joke in the movie that even caused me to crack a smile; most of them made me scowl even harder.
Ultimately, I feel as though the reason for the effusive praise lavished upon this movie is because it feels as though it was made by people who feel the same way as all of us do, about the world generally. In the film’s own metaphor, it is the enlightened parent’s shoulder for we suicidal children to cry onto. And there is worth in understanding and in expression and in commiseration. But the excruciating manner in which the story is told and the smug, baby-brained conclusion that it comes to just makes it unbearable. I hope I never have to see this movie again.