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    7 Days in Hell (2015): Movie Review

     "A wickedly hilarious tennis mockumentary."

    Andy Samberg and Kit Harington play as two rival tennis superstars in a mockumentary film called 7 Days in Hell by director Jake Szymanski. An HBO productions, the movie is a fictionalized rendering of one of the most popular sports in the world and hilariously, it is an art house of exaggeration, both in the sports and in the faces behind it.

    The film opens with Jon Hamm’s voice narrating the events of the legendary 2001 Wimbledon tennis match between Aaron Williams and Charles Poole which lasted seven days, the longest match in tennis history. The match came about after an innocent interview comment turned into a provocation to see which among the two champions is the best.

    According to the film, Aaron Williams, with his long hair and cocky moves, is Serena Williams' adoptive brother. Being a textbook badass, he engages in risky behavior with Rod Stewart and David Copperfield during the height of his career. His life takes a right turn when his serve hits a line judge at the 1996 Wimbledon Finals. The judge suffers an immediate heart attack and dies, forcing Williams to disappear. He resurfaces soon, incarcerated in a Swedish prison.

    Meanwhile, Charles Poole is a thick kind of person. Though good-looking and physically gifted, he is near dope with his tireless blabber of “indubitably.” On top of that, Poole feels neglected by his demanding and domineering mother (Mary Steenburgen). After appearing on a local show hosted by the smutty and sweaty Caspian Wint (Michael Sheen) at age 15, he is on the way of becoming the youngest professional tennis player in history.

    In 2001, Charles’ innocent comment in an interview is maliciously interpreted and this reaches Williams who is still in prison. He escapes and becomes a free man (supposedly according to Swedish law). With their best foot forward, the two legends will soon meet in an ultimate court face-off.

    7 Days in Hell, though lasting for only around forty minutes, is nasty and naughty in the best way. The background stories of the two champions are “indubitably” side-splitting and incredulous. With its documentary style, they feel so real and yet you know they are “indubitably” outrageous. The catchy interviews with tennis pros like Chris Evert, Jim Lampley, John McEnroe and Serena Williams make you think you are the crazy one and not the minds behind this short film. Cameo roles of June Squib (as Queen Elizabeth II who beat Poole in the elevator), Lena Dunham (as a Jordache exec who sponsored William’s tight-fitting white outfit), Will Forte and David Copperfield bring extra ounce of laughs and highs.

    The film also has a solid streak of jaw-dropping and extremely funny, if not offensive, mischief. One of which is the animated prison orgies which no one could possibly thought is coming. An animated Williams also escapes the prison cells with his horse-sized manhood dangling around. And do not forget the Williams’ live-court threesome with nude streakers, both male and female, during the fourth day of the match.

    In 7 Days in Hell, Samberg delivers yet another comic performance. He is already a pro in comedy, evident with his Saturday Night Live days. With his natural assertiveness and swag, he brings the spunk and wits of Williams. On the other hand, Harington is enthusiastic and likable as Poole. Though moron-like, he is emotionally affecting, rooting us more for his character than Samberg’s. It is great to discover that Harington also has comedy chops, other than playing the bland Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow. 

    7 Days in Hell, like its title, is one hell of a mockumentary. It is wickedly funny, superbly concocted and engrossingly acted out. Wish it was longer though, and with a better ending.


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