Take the 10 (2017)
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Even though films like this year's Split or last year's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi have proven that not all films released in January are dreadful messes, it still remains the dumping ground for films that studios want nothing to do with. While I am not surprised when a bad film is released at the beginning of every year, Netflix has built itself a good enough reputation that they shouldn't be releasing films just to release them. Take the 10 is Netflix's latest outing in the feature film category, and I don't feel like I am overstating when I say that this film is worse than most theatrically released January films. This is the worst film I have seen in quite some time, which is sad, due to its cast. Here is why I believe Take the 10 may just be the worst feature film to come directly from Netflix. Following two best friends throughout the course of one day, the film flashes back and forth through time, trying to cleverly tell its story out of order. Chester (Toni Revolori) and Chris (Josh Peck) find themselves involved in theft, drugs, and wanting to go to a hip-hop concert, all within the same day. In the vein of Movie 43 (yes, I am comparing Take the 10 to Movie 43), this film feels more like a series of events that leads to a friendship being fixed in order to slap on a nice message before the film concludes. Being a comedy, I found myself laughing twice, one of the times being for a personal reason. When a comedy can't make you laugh, it has failed to due its core job, and at a mere 80 minutes, they should have been able to cram in more jokes, even if it would have felt forced. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not out to say that this was brilliant cast and that they are Oscar winners that have chosen the wrong project, because none of them have really proven themselves that worthy, but I have enjoyed all of these actors in other projects from the past. Toni Revolori was fantastic in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and I look forward to his portrayal of Flash Thompson in this year's Spider-Man: Homecoming. Josh Peck has had a very diverse career with shows like Drake and Josh or films like The Wackness, which are projects I quite admire. Even showcasing appearances from actors like Andy Samberg and Kevin Corrigan wasn't enough to save this film. In fact, their characters actually annoyed me. Every single cast member has been a part of something greater, so why did they all agree to this? From first time writer/director Chester Tam, who also plays a drug dealer named Jay in the film, it's acceptable that he was just trying to make a small project to crack his first egg in the business, if that was his intention. Having seen his performance throughout this film, he looked both like he was having fun and also trying very hard to sell his character in certain scenes. The only issue is that his script felt very uninspired and the none of the comedy hit for me. I found myself cringing at some of the dialogue, but the cast helped me through this very weak picture. Take the 10 just feels like a four or five part mini-series that have all been thought out, but each episode has only been half-written, but they decided to mash those scripts together to form a movie instead. Told linearly and shortened down to a 20-minute run time, I truly think this could have been a fun little short film. In the end, it's not like the filmmaking itself is bad, because every scene is competently made and I can see this director making a better project in the future, but the concept had nothing to offer for feature-length film. The cast was enjoyable as they normally are, but they don't have enough substance to really dive into these characters. Take the 10 feels like it was trying to condense hours and hours of character development into the last act of this film, and for that, I found myself shaking my head at the nonsensical wrap-up that this film delivers. I have seen better from everyone involved and much better products released by Netflix. I truly found nothing to like about Take the 10, aside from a few chuckles here and there. This is the definition of a story that either needed tweaking or that just shouldn't have left the page.
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