Big Gold Brick
Drinking, language, sex in preposterous dark comedy.
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Big Gold Brick
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Big Gold Brick is a dark comedic mystery executive-produced by Kristen Wiig and Oscar Isaac. Their names, along with those of stars Lucy Hale, Megan Fox, and Andy Garcia, may lend it credibility, but it's very strange -- and problematic. While there's diversity in the casting and story, it's not positive: Only the White male protagonist (Emory Cohen), who's suffering a head injury that reads like a mental illness, is seen as a "good" character. All of the Latino characters in significant roles are unethical, all of the Black characters take money to go against their principles, and all of the women exist only as sexual objects. Violence includes people being shot up with Uzis and a car accident (shown repeatedly). There's an implied suicide attempt. A woman is portrayed as being sexually aggressive to the point of almost being a predator; there's also blunt sex talk, and a sex act is seen in the shadows. Drinking is a constant and sometimes ridiculously excessive. Characters, including a tween and a doctor, smoke throughout. Extremely strong language includes "f--k," "c--ksucker," and much more. As weird as the movie is, it does have a positive message: Sometimes life doesn't go well, but if you can endure, the bad stuff may be part of the path to a better life.
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What's the Story?
In BIG GOLD BRICK, the life of writer Samuel (Emory Cohen) hits rock bottom. As he's spiraling out of control, he's struck by a car. As his injuries heal, the effects of the accident indicate that maybe the collision wasn't as unfortunate as it seemed. And things only get stranger from there.
Is It Any Good?
Writer-director Brian Petsos gets one thing right in this preposterous waste of time: You need to have a concussion to understand it. Touted as "genre bending," Big Gold Brick seems not to adhere to the standards of typical genres simply because it's not well-written. It's as if Petsos had writer's block, pushed through it by writing anything, and never went back to fix the script. In fact, it may be the first film where the plot is driven by a continuous stream of deus ex machina.
While there's something of a positive message to be found amid the mess, the disappointing life lesson to young aspiring filmmakers is that it's not about the quality of your work, it's who you know. Petsos and producer/co-star Oscar Isaac appear to be best buds (they've been making shorts together for years). And it's easy to see why Isaac would relish his role here: He plays an over-the-top Bond-type villain with such delicious creativity that Mike Myers' Dr. Evil might be taking notes. Meanwhile, executive producer Kristen Wiig is an ex-girlfriend Petsos has known since high school -- the duo worked on the SNL movie spin-off MacGruber together. Frankly, this entire film makes more sense if you look at the characters through the lens of Wiig's SNL background: Most of them have no more depth than her popular Target Lady. The effort might have worked better had all the actors played their roles with similar absurdity, as seen in movies like Zoolander and Anchorman. As it stands, Andy Garcia delivers a textured performance, Megan Fox leans into typecasting, Isaac's villain seems like an audition for the next Spy Kids, Cohen performs like he's doing drama in a high school sketch comedy production, and Lucy Hale is just there. Creating original comedy is hard and requires taking risks. Big Gold Brick's real discovery is that the famous and well-connected can fail at it too.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Big Gold Brick's message and how we can remember that life has its ups and downs.
Marketing materials call this film "genre bending." How would you categorize it? What are the rules of writing in the genres that it touches on, and what are examples of movies you've seen that bend those rules?
Are drinking, drugs, or smoking glamorized here? How does the fact that the characters overindulge affect how we're meant to perceive their characters?
How are the characters mined for humor by either leaning into stereotypes or upending your expectations of how a stereotypical character would behave? How can stereotypes be damaging if they're connected to race or gender?
- In theaters: February 25, 2022
- On DVD or streaming: May 31, 2022
- Cast: Emory Cohen, Andy Garcia, Megan Fox
- Director: Brian Petsos
- Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- Run time: 132 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
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Dysfunctional-family memoir wallows in smug humor.
For kids who love wacky concepts
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