DON’T WORRY BABY: Quirky, Fun, And Very Emotional

Usually, I’m not a fan of the ‘comedy’ genre of film. I find that ninety-five percent of the time, it’s filled with bland, repetitive plot lines that all crack the same sort of jokes: either helpless characters struggling with awkwardness, or more slapstick physical comedy.

Julian Branciforte‘s Don’t Worry Baby is more than just a father-son comedy, it’s an emotional roller coaster, too.

A Bumpy Ride

A good way for me to see if I like a film, personally, is by finding one which can make me laugh and make me cry. Obviously this rule doesn’t always apply, I never found myself chuckling my way through Black Swan or The Godfather and I don’t particularly remember crying during Jurassic Park.

However, for a comedy-cum-romance-cum-drama, it’s a pretty accurate way to see how good a film is. What I loved about Don’t Worry Baby is that it knew when to be serious, and when to be funny, instead of blurring the lines too much and creating an overly-stupid film.

Branciforte creates a compelling drama about a father-son relationship which revolves around a young girl, and which of them she is the daughter of. It’s a plotline in which, if it was done badly, would feel clumsy and stupid, but it’s masterfully crafted into one of my favourite films of the year.

DON'T WORRY BABY: Quirky, Fun, And Very Emotional
source: Orion Pictures

It’s a quirky concept and keeps the audience happy with the laughs here and there but to me, what makes this film special, is how hard it can hit you when it wants to.

There were moments in Don’t Worry Baby, which I won’t spoil, that seriously pack a punch. What Branciforte expertly does though, is supplement these powerful moments with a clever one-liner or brief moment of comedy which prevents you from feeling too depressed.

Bravo Ensemble!

Another great thing about Don’t Worry Baby is the excellent casting choices. Christopher McDonald (of Requiem for a Dream fame) plays father Harry Lang, whilst John Magaro (who starred in 2015 hits Carol and The Big Short) plays his son Robert Lang, an aspiring photographer who has seen better days.

The chemistry between Magaro and McDonald feels genuinely paternal and most importantly, real, as they debate over the fathership of young Mason (Rainn Williams). The mother of the child is Sara-Beth, played by Dreama Walker, who does an excellent job, much like the rest of the cast.

DON'T WORRY BABY: Quirky, Fun, And Very Emotional
source: Orion Pictures

Father-son relationships are awfully difficult to get right in film, the director has to make sure they aren’t too friendly but the actors have to hold a mutual respect for each-other. Magaro and McDonald must have got on well out of character because a real bond is visible between the two, despite the bickering and insults that recur throughout the film.

In a drama-comedy, the cast is a vital piece of the puzzle: with an average cast that have no real chemistry, the results are average. However, when you cast the perfect actors for the roles, as they are in this film, you create a brilliant spectacle that the audience can connect with.

Family

As Don Corleone once said, “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”

Now although Don’t Worry Baby doesn’t feature any offers that cannot be refused, or horse heads in beds, it does offer valuable morals about family and the relationships between a family. In my opinion, what Branciforte is trying to say within the film is that no matter what happens within a family, whether it be between a mother and father, mother and son, or in this case father and son, there will always be better days.

Family is the one thing which will never, except in an odd circumstance, deliberately let you down, and therefore no matter how tough things get, “Don’t Worry Baby”, because family bonds are strong enough to get through anything.

DON'T WORRY BABY: Quirky, Fun, And Very Emotional
source: Orion Pictures

Julian Branciforte really dissects the concept of family in the film and tries to experiment with how far the bonds of family can be strained. Can a wife forgive a husband who has had multiple affairs? Can a father and son stay civil when it comes to the possibility of either of them fathering the same child?

These are questions which run throughout the film and by using the paternity test as a sort of countdown/moment of climax, we are left hanging for the 88-minute runtime of Don’t Worry Baby. It’s a clever way of advancing the plot within a restricted time period, leaving the film feeling very personal, almost as if it is happening in real time, making you feel involved.

Conclusion

For someone who admits that he isn’t the greatest fan of ‘comedy’ films, or romance for that matter, I loved Don’t Worry Baby. It was an excellent blend of serious and humourous and left me with a taste for more films like this.

Branciforte created one of the funniest movies that I have seen in years and brilliant performances from the entire cast create a genuinely compelling watch which will leave the audience both laughing and crying.

What makes comedy work for you?

Don’t Worry Baby has hit American theatres on the 22nd July. No international release dates are currently known. 

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