Dern brings a hungry, manic energy to Albert, a sad and troubled woman who used LeRoy as a vehicle to process her own childhood trauma, while Stewart’s performance is typically interiorised and exacting.
It is gleefully dorky, hopelessly earnest, sincere, quite possibly to a fault. It unfolds as a series of Springsteen-soundtracked set pieces, each shamelessly engineered to maximise catharsis, cheering and possibly weeping from the audience.
As a genre exercise, the film starts promisingly enough, contrasting claustrophobic, dimly lit interiors with atmospheric wides of the landscape composed like moody paintings. Worthington-Cox is compelling, by turns twitchy, tentative, stoic and bold. Still, something isn’t clicking.
Back in New York and with Iron Man gone, everyone’s asking Spider-Man if he is going to be the new lead Avenger; Holland is an endearing and quick-witted enough presence to suggest he might just be up to the task.
There are some gory moments (a man’s leg is sliced, the flesh falling off like meat from a rotisserie, and a sleazy character has a grisly encounter with a lawnmower), but the film extracts more laughs than genuine scares.
There’s comedy in its depiction of the Swedish prime minister as a caricature of even-temperedness, but from its gaudy 70s costuming to its goofy, wobbling tone, everything about this film feels uncomfortably broad.
The ugly visual effects are outdone only by the sound design, which is relentlessly loud and thunderingly tedious. Verbal exchanges between the humans are devoid of wit and barely functional in communicating the story.
Those who enjoy Blumhouse productions for their unabashed silliness will be pleased to discover a sticky slice of schlock, with both household appliances and prosthetic genitals given their genre moments.