Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★½

You know you're in trouble when Borat does a better job at poking fun at anti-semitism than you. I don't think this is an inherently bad idea for a movie but this needed to either be way more tasteless or way more angry, as is it's just kind of a shrug. Say what you will about Life is Beautiful, but nothing in this movie packs the simultaneous hilarity and darkness of Roberto Benigni shoveling ashes into a furnace remarking "there goes a lawyer!" Waititi's far too afraid of stepping on any toes here, and as such he winds up committing far worse sins than Spielberg or Benigni ever did, such as whitewashing some of the Nazi characters and denying the film a real moral reckoning (appreciated some of the attempts in the third act, but it was far too little too late). Even Waititi's usual comedic skill is largely missing, leaning heavily into goofy antics rather than his usual dry wit. Saving grace here is the two leads, who both do wonderful work and manage to sell some of the film's phoniest moments—had they not been involved, I could easily see myself hating this as much as my peers. It will be funny to see people using sassy reaction gifs of actual nazis for the next few months, so I suppose there's that.

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