The Drop: Review
The Drop Synopsis: A seemingly happy married couple confronts a test of their relationship when one of them drops a baby while at a destination wedding on a tropical island.
Lex and Mani enjoy a loving marriage on the precipice of entering its next chapter - parenthood. During a vacation getaway for one of Lex's closest friends, their bond is suddenly fractured when Lex accidentally drops a baby in The Drop.
The latest Hulu original feature marks another collaboration from The Duplass Brothers. The duo is widely regarded as forefathers of the modern mumblecore movement from the mid-2000s, writing and directing films like The Puffy Chair and Cyrus that explored intimate human dynamics in a dialogue-driven manner. The Duplass Brothers have since cultivated their filmmaking style into a recognizable brand, greenlighting several character-driven projects that similarly favor naturalism over rigid narrative frameworks. Personally, I've always enjoyed their productions and the anti-Hollywoodized imprint they often embrace.
With The Drop, writer/director Sarah Adina Smith and co-writer Joshua Leonard explore a deliciously deranged concept - what would be the fallout of a well-meaning person committing the heinous act of accidentally dropping a baby? Unfortunately, what may seem conceptually ripe on paper is inevitably squandered in an aimless and half-baked extension of mumblecore mannerisms.
There are flashes where The Drop hones in on its promising potential. Smith and Leonard frame their admittedly clever premise in the mold of an ensemble comedy bursting with eccentric caricatures. Each of Lexi's friends displays an overbearing embrace of narcissistic attitudes, propping up their ego and flatlining career aspirations over any semblance of human connection. When the material's intentions connect, the screenwriters humorously take to task the vain behaviors motivating this group of yuppie socialites. The gifted comedic supporting cast, including Jillian Bell, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Leonard, and Aparna Nancherla, skillfully personifies these absurdist characters through their zany charms.
The Drop also showcases genuine thematic merits. The nuclear fallout from Lex's unfortunate baby-dropping incident sparks thoughtful ruminations on the predestined roles society predicates on relationships and the myths of a picture-perfect parenting style. As Lex and Mani come face-to-face with their aspirations to start a family, the couple undergoes a soul-searching experience that elicits a few uncomfortable truths about the relationship they are trying to project. Stars Anna Konle and Jermaine Flower make for a winning pair as they explore the raw dynamics buried beneath Lex and Mani's affable appearance.
Still, I wished The Drop's fruitful ideas culminated in a more worthwhile experience. Smith and Leonard's mumblecore sensibilities thankfully don't paint straightforward answers to viewers, but the meandering approach never seizes a firm grasp on what the duo is trying to articulate. Instead, the film settles into being an erratic satire that features a roller coaster ride of well-timed gags and swing-and-a-miss vignettes. Inconsistent humor aside, The Drop's thematic bend rarely generates novel reflections about socialite culture or the modern generation of self-serving, fly-by-night parents.
Creating an aimless narrative is the ultimate cinematic illusion. For story beats to evolve gradually and build towards a well-defined thesis requires a deft touch behind the camera. This specific sensibility feels elusive throughout The Drop's runtime, with Smith and Leonard's easy-going approach treading water rather than gaining any narrative or thematic momentum. Everything feels especially rushed across the film's slapdash 92-minute runtime, including a half-hearted conclusion that never earns its intended impact.
While mildly diverting, The Drop drops the ball on realizing its true potential.
The Drop is now playing on Hulu.