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    No Way Jose (2015): Movie Review

    “A frustratingly unwatchable coming-of-middle-age story.” 

    What’s midlife like? In comedy film No Way Jose which he himself directed, Adam Goldberg tries to answer this question by portraying miserable Jose Stern, a guy who suddenly finds himself in a lot of crossroads as he turns 40.

    Jose Stern, originally Joseph Stern until he found out he had a drop of Mexican blood, is a man of complaints and pessimism. It must be because he is turning forty and yet, he lacks purpose in life. Well, he has a band in which he plays the guitar and sings the lead. It’s nothing fancy though since his band is only performing in children’s parties. He hates it! He could have written his own songs but he did not. He still has much to complain despite being hooked with Ambien, an anti-insomnia drug.

    Lucky for Jose, he has a beautiful and supportive fiancĂ© named Dusty (Ahna O’Reilly). But she is more than just a pretty face becuase she is a veterinarian. In an attempt to tame Jose a little, Dusty does some things like getting engaged, going on vacations together, moving to a quiet town and celebrating birthdays with friends. He still hates it!

    Everything soon changes when Dusty stumbles upon a sex predator app. With it, she discovers Jose’s old secret which he cannot clearly explain (thanks to Ambien!). Instantly, she kicks him out of her life. In the following days, Jose finds himself sleeping on the couch of his married friend’s home. In between seeking help from his similarly fed-up friends and undermined family, he manages to sneak in a date with his insane ex-girlfriend. But in the end, will he finally sort through his past and make sense of the present? Or will he remain as disjointed as before? 

    No Way Jose is an excruciating film to watch. For one, Jose is not pleasant, or even just interesting. With his aggressiveness and endless complaints, he is full of negativities. At the start, it is acceptable as he undergoes through some sort of “crisis,” if indeed going through midlife is considered a crisis (but having no purpose in life whether during early or mid- life is truly a disaster). But there is no apparent improvement in him even after the pivotal discovery of his past mistake. He remains whiny and pessimistic, a very tiring and frustrating persona in effect.

    The film also skates on a very thin plot. It is very monotonous; it is about Jose complaining about this and that. At times dialogues are pointy, but mostly they are pointless, especially those dull moments shared with his dull friends. Humor temporarily lightens the scenes but then again, the film goes back to being drab or the moment just suddenly gets cut. With this erratic cycle of poor humor and rich sadness, this film is draggy and sleepy. 

    No Way Jose is insufferable. It has a promising premise but fails to develop a profound plot. It tries to make sense out of the issue of midlife crisis but ends up not knowing which places to go to.


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