Good Mourning: Review
Good Mourning Synopsis: Movie star London Clash gets his world turned upside down when he must choose between pursuing his one true love and landing a life-changing starring role in a major motion picture.
Pop culture maverick Machine Gun Kelly and his oddball friends maneuver the stoner comedy landscape in Good Mourning. Making an engaging comedy for potheads and sober audiences alike can often require a tricky balancing act. While the genre features a few notable staples for both demographics (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and Harmony Korine’s underrated Beach Bum are some of my favorites), most modern interpretations coast by the cheap appeals of pandering to their hazy target audience.
I can assure readers I indulged in plenty of herbs to get in the right headspace for Good Mourning. Even with that considered, Kelly’s aimless detour through the glitz and glamour of Hollywood delivers an inconsistent series of unremarkable vignettes.
Good Mourning isn’t entirely uninspired. Writing, directing, and starring alongside Mod Sun, Machine Gun Kelly molds Good Mourning as a fitting representation of his carefree, punk rock energy. Kelly may be a frequent punching bag in popular culture, but his onscreen presence possesses an inherent likability. The rapper/rocker throws himself into colorful gags with good spirit and proper reckless abandon as his Hollywood cipher London Clash. Memorable supporting turns from Pete Davidson as an oddball valet, Whitney Cummings as an abrasive Hollywood agent, and Trippie Redd in a playful cameo also elevate a supporting cast full of eccentric personalities.
Conceptually, Good Morning presents surprising promise. Kelly and Sun lean into the stressful undertaking of managing the allures of a Hollywood lifestyle. Viewers can see ways that the general plotline could mirror Kelly’s own lifestyle as a celebrity wrestling with relationship drama, career opportunities, and his everyday pursuits for having a good time. Unfortunately, Good Mourning doesn’t approach its plotting with much sincerity.
Landon’s pursuit of happiness and Hollywood glory never exceeds past tired genre cliches. Any chances for genuine reflection on Kelly’s complicated journey receive no screentime. In its place, the screenwriting duo crafts a comedy that feels consistently haphazard in its construction.
Plot threads come and go without much follow-through, characters only exist as flat, one-dimensional jokes, and the whole experience lacks a consistent tonal approach. Going for an aimless sensibility makes sense for a stoner comedy, but the genre’s great entries showcase the deft touch required to create a breezy sense of amusement A few flourishes of self-reflexive humor, like a bizarrely framed ending and an appearance from Snoop Dogg as a talking joint, don’t add much either in righting a ship that mostly flatlines comedically. The overwhelming lack of cohesion should not be too shocking considering Kelly and Sun wrote the film in a mere few days.
Kelly and Sun’s directorial approach is similarly listless. Aside from a few clever artistic flourishes, their production values lack competence and an attractive creative vision. So many scenes feel awkwardly glued together in post-production, utilizing tricks like ADR and abrasive sound choices to place a bandaid on their noticeable missteps. The middling production values never mask the creators’ lack of vision both in front of and behind the screen.
I give Good Mourning credit for imbuing some effort in its approach to the stoner genre. That said, Kelly and Mod Sun ultimately prove to be over their heads in a flat odyssey through slapstick hijinks. I would be interested to see what the duo can achieve in the future with a little more experience under their belt.