Before making Kodachrome, filmmaker Mark Raso directed Copenhagen and screenwriter Jonathan Tropper wrote This Is Where I Leave You. Both of those were modest movies with family drama and pleasant dynamics. Kodachrome is more of the same from these two men, which is good for Netflix audiences looking for an easy watch, but slightly disappointing for movie goers expecting more than unchallenging schmaltz.
If Kodachrome was a song, it would be too soft for music-exec Matt (Jason Sudeikis). If it was a still picture, it would be perceived as innocuous by Matt’s photographer father Ben (Ed Harris). The pair are alike with their particular artistic tastes and temperamental attitudes, but Matt resents his father and Ben is too self-absorbed to care. The estranged men are brought together by Zooey, Ben’s personal nurse. Zooey (Elizabeth Olsen) establishes Ben’s critical health condition to Matt, as well as his father’s desire to develop some vintage Kodachrome film before the act of photo-processing is discontinued. Racing against a deadline given by the last photo lab accepting Kodachrome, all three reluctantly travel to Kansas to fulfil Ben’s final wishes.
Kodachrome has its strengths. The movie is well-suited for its leads, for instance. Sudeikis plays his trademark slickster, Harris is appropriately pessimistic as an adult with no filter, and Olsen is sympathetic and commanding as a mediator – everyone is performing within a comfortable element. Sweet emotional talks balance out the repetitive arguments that erupt on the trip, and the film relaxes the audience with pretty scenery set to nuanced songs. Otherwise, Kodachrome is déjà vu for anyone who has ever watched a conventional road movie or family drama.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie