Review of The Angriest Man in Brooklyn


A great deal can change in twelve years. Societal shifts adjust the mindset we have when consuming all aspects of entertainment. Certain approaches that previously worked will grow tired and played out. With that in mind director Phil Alden Robinson had a challenge in front of him as he is directing his first film since Sum of All Fears  in 2002.

Perhaps the twelve year gap was too much of a hurdle to leap, because The Angriest Man in Brooklyn  is nowhere near the quality of what you would expect from the guy who gave us wonderful films like Field of Dreams and Sneakers. Nearly every part is miscast causing each actor to be constantly at odds with their rolesRobin-Williams-is-The-Angriest-Man-in-Brooklyn-screenrant. Tonally it is in a constant whirlwind never able to find a place to settle. It is too mundane to be outlandish, too sentimental to be dark, and too disingenuous to be poignant. By the end The Angriest Man in Brooklyn  may cause more anger than it portrays.

That angry man is played by legendary comedian Robin Williams. By this time in his career Williams has proven himself as a dramatic actor, and if anything tends to be more effective in his dramatic roles than his comedic ones. Here he plays Henry Altman, a man who is always on the precipice of entering into rage induced fit. Something as simple as a fender bender with a New York City cab driver leads him into a racist filled rant of grand proportion. He wears his frustration with pride, and his running list of things he hates does nothing more to add fuel to his irritated fire.

From the early goings it is apparent this is not a part fit for Williams’s talents. There is no conviction to this persona. His anger has no bite. It is too bothersome to be comedic, but too superficial to be effecting. Never did he feel in control of what was taking place. This was a bad skit character gone wrong, a pale imitation of Larry David on a good day. Easily the worst thing Williams has done in quite a long time.

Even considering that fact he is far from the most disappointing aspect of the film. That right goes to Mila Kunis who plays Dr. Sharon Gill. Kunis’s portrayal of a doctor is as convincing as Denise Richards attempt to play a nuclear physicist in the James Bond franchise. There is nothing about her performance that rings true. She too is at the end of her rope. Her affair with her married boss has left her a broken person working a job she hates. Unfortunately for her things only get worse when she has the pleasure of having Henry Altman as a patient. Quickly their personalities clash. Unable to cope Sharon informs Altman he only has ninety minutes to live due to his brain aneurysm. Before she can inform him the diagnosis was a lie he leaves to try and reconcile his life. Setting her off to track down Altman before the damage cannot be undone.

It becomes this episodic adventure where Altman has random encounter after random encounter, all in hopes of meeting up withangriest23f-1-web his disenfranchises son before his final bell tolls. Each episode is populated with some highly regarded talent like Peter Dinklage, Melisa Leo, Louie C.K., and Richard Kind. Some are more effective than others. The best being James Earl Jones as a stuttering video store clerk who cannot get out of his own way. Clearly this premise is over the top, a sitcom scenario gone array. Robinson never matches the extreme concept with appropriate level situations. He is performing knock knock jokes on a raw HBO comedy special. Never taking advantage of the wide open format he is given.

Altman is designed to the age odd sympathetic figure. Someone who had life get away from him due to unforeseen circumstances. The issue is there is no-in-between. Williams is either on angry level 11 or playing the part of kindhearted father of the year in occasional flashbacks. Nothing connects these two sides, or justifies the ludicrous behavior enough to make you truly care about him. By the end you are rooting for the aneurysm.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn  comes off as a generic version of Curb Your Enthusiasm—minus everything that makes that show entertaining. I can understand why this material would draw Director Phil Alden Robinson out of retirement. He just couldn’t get a proper hold of it to produce something worth watching. Robinson may have a good movie left in him, but this is not it.



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Dan Clark

A fan of all things comics, movies, books, and whatever else I can find that pass the time. Twitter: @DXO_Dan Instagram: Comic_concierge


  1. Great review Dan. Not sure if I completely agree about Williams though. This is a guy who’s had some pretty difficult things happen to him and he just didn’t handle that well. To me it was believable and I was definitely never rooting for the aneurysm. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. However, I agree with just about everything else. Mila Kunis is awful and the 2nd half of the film gets absurd, which took away any sentimental value that was working for the film. The script turns into a feeble mess that is muddled and fizzled out unfortunately.

    1. Thanks, an yes the ‘root for the aneurysm’ was more in jest than anything. I knows Williams has had a hard past, which makes his performance more disappointing to me. There’s a lot he can draw from the the director never brought it out.

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