Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★½

A tonal game of twister that (kind of impressively) stays standing for the first hour or so. Waititi's playfulness (which is hella charming, duh) is appropriately offset by the hints of Nazism's actual darkness. The humor and lightness has a counter-weight, or at least the anticipation of one. But...

The film never really goes there. It stays with its safe, smile-reinforcing, twee sensibilities and really ends up being mostly toothless. To me, sure, you can have Nazis being buffoons and their behavior played for laughs, and you can even have the film retain its generally springy tone... but without giving any glimpses of anything that actually feels sinister, or at least any bite or specificity to what you're seeking to lampoon, an "anti-hate satire" inevitably starts feeling more like a "romp through Nazism". And that's an extremely significant difference.

Jojo Rabbit is an effort to do something pretty complicated, something that would require a delicate balance. I really wish it would have worked, I love Waititi, and there is some good here... but for me, the balance was off.

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