In the absence of sharp writing, Bautista and Nanjiani adopt the blunt-weapon approach, shrieking their lines at each other as if they’re trying to hold a conversation from opposite sides of an eight-lane motorway. It’s painfully unfunny stuff.
There’s a zesty spark between Patel and James, and for a while the film chugs along happily on the goodwill bought by the soundtrack. Then one honkingly misjudged scene knocks the whole movie off key, heralding a toe-curling, tone-deaf terrace chant of an ending.
Woody and Buzz et al are still wonderful creations, and time spent in their company is rarely wasted. But riffs about new owner Bonnie starting kindergarten and once-favoured toys getting left in the cupboard smack of old ground being retrodden.
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.
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.
The lack of diversity in entertainment is an open goal, long overdue for a skewering. But rather than kicking over the traces of the patriarchal establishment, the film ends up just giving it a playful tickle.
Part thriller, part family drama, part satirical commentary on the way that the pursuit of wealth is a cultural cancer that taints everything it touches, The Hummingbird Project is no less compelling for its odd mishmash of components.
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.