Just Add Water (2008) starring Dylan Walsh, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Danny DeVito, Tracy Middendorf, Melissa McCarthy, Anika Noni Rose directed by Hart Bochner Movie Review

Just Add Water (2008)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Dylan Walsh in Just Add Water (2008)

Just Add Humour

Comedies are meant to be funny, right? Even off beat comedies are meant to be funny, right? I needed to ask because I have just spent about 90 minutes of my life watching "Just Add Water" on an off beat comedy which was anything but funny. Now in fairness I prefer my comedies normal, some might say cliche rather than off beat but that doesn't mean I don't like off beat I just find them hard work and none more so that this which honestly feels like it is trying too hard to be off beat.

Ray Tuckby (Dylan Walsh - Lost Holiday: The Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story) is a decent guy each day he goes to work as a parking attendant before returning home to Trona, a dust bowl which is owned by a meth dealing punk called Dirk (Will Rothhaar). His wife doesn't leave the house, his son wants to vandalize things and be taken to a prostitute and his neighbours are trash, about the only highlight in Ray's day is visiting the supermarket where he enjoys chatting to assistant Nora (Tracy Middendorf - Dying to Belong). But everything starts to change the day he comes home early to discover his brother in bed with his wife.

Tracy Middendorf in Just Add Water (2008)

If you were to sit down and write a list of all the ingredients to an offbeat comedy you might come up with things such as a variety of quirky characters, a strange location, maybe a character has a box they carry around with them which we never see in and of course the floaty music. "Just Add Water" has all these, in fact it has all of these and a lot more from a town run by a meth dealer to a down beat son, an accompanying narration and some very recognizable pieces of music. The trouble is that it feels like a movie which has been made from studying these lists of needs to be off beat and ends up feeling forced by trying to make each one as off beat as possible. A prime example is when you listen to the narration by a character called Merl who is putting in a gas station in the town, most of what comes out of Merl's mouth is said in a tone which sounds amusing but most of it is also utterly pointless.

What this really means it that "Just Add Water" has the components but no soul to connect it together. It is the same with the characters; Dylan Walsh is the epitome of a nice guy as Ray, Jonah Hill is very down beat as his son Eddie and Tracy Middendorf is attractive as Nora who secretly likes Ray. But these characters are too well written, too well defined off beat characters that they end up too tight to a stereotype.

What this all boils down to is that "Just Add Water" just didn't do it for me and it was just over 90 minutes of off beat humour which never made me smile let alone laugh. Maybe some will find it amusing but for me it felt too manufactured as if made by analysing other off beat comedies.