Nerdlocker Movie Review: The Rental


“One lie is enough to question all truths.” -Anonymous

Ah 2020, the year of Covid, the year we’ve all (people who aren’t morons) had enough of our government and all it’s unyielding bullshit, the year we finally stand up for those who have been marginalized (aka murdered, enslaved, etc.) far too long. The murder hornets, the whole global warming thing is ongoing of course. I don’t need to say it but this year is such shit. What to do when all this becomes too much and an escape (if only temporary) is a must? Movies! Television! Music! You get the point. Because these moments of escape have become far more, dare I say sacred, the instances when a movie is awful or a tv show “jumps the shark” or a musician betrays their fanbase for more money, in the age of Corona you feel these kinds of betrayal even more than normal. This is a really, really long winded way of saying The Rental is a snooze fest with a sad attempt at a big closing number only to fall flat on its unenthused face.

When a movie is great for obvious reasons I love it. That’s always the hope, for something memorable and lasting or at the very least just passable. That said in some weird way I also appreciate when a movie is so awful I question the entire existence of cinema itself. The reason for such appreciation for two results on completely different ends of the spectrum is that at the end of the day, no matter how good or bad I know where they stand when it comes to my opinion of them and how I want to approach a review. And then there’s movies like The Rental where it isn’t so awful for choices made but rather it’s a movie that is so placid it becomes bad simply because it’s so middle-of-the-road. It makes no attempt at going too far in any direction therefore we’re left with an impactless, thrill-less, ninety minute yawn.

The characters are one dimensional cutouts of young entrepreneurs who want to take a vacation to celebrate some undefined business success. It’s never specified what they’re celebrating and the only reason it’s brought up is to establish boring relationship dynamics between co-workers and friends and their potential for deviations from matrimonial vows. Brief backgrounds, once again quite vague, are given to most of the main characters with the rest there just to fill a void and say lines I guess. These are archetype characters meant to pull a half gassed plot across some semblance of a finish line. Nothing “dramatic” occurs until the middle of the second act and it’s a predictable turn in a predictable story with predictable characters making predictable choices and so on.

Like I said I would have preferred if they just went for a silly, slasher flick with gratuitous violence and nudity. It would have been bad for sure but it would have more than likely provided some kind of entertainment or opportunity to turn in an easy review. What it ended up being is a movie I don’t really have any interest in therefore my enthusiasm in writing about it is nearly nonexistent. My only real motivation here is to warn any interested potential viewers of this sleeper, and I don’t mean it’s a hidden gem flying under the radar. I mean it will potentially put you to sleep.

Around the third act a part of the story that has only been implied finally comes to try and shake things up. Yeah great, thanks. Where were you the first fifty minutes? With credits included this has an 88 minute runtime and nothing resembling anything interesting begins to occur until maybe forty to forty-five minutes into this relationship drama disguised as a thriller. This would all be fine if, and once again I’ll say it, the characters were interesting in the slightest. Oh no, someone was unfaithful and someone else found out! Oh the horror… Also, a killer with a hammer and a creepy mask of course because why not? I have to add that when people die in this movie and they do, violently, I couldn’t begin to care. Make of that what you will.

Alright I’m over this. This movie is boring with an odd and unsuccessful turn into slasher territory with some kind of attempt at being artsy about the whole thing. I didn’t like a single character, the cinematography is fine but forgetful, and the story drags like a nutsack on hot asphalt. I wanted to like it, I like Dave Franco (he’s the director) as an actor, let me clarify, as a comedic actor, and his wife Alison Brie is so attractive I have to give her the benefit of the doubt but none of my positive biases could save this, whatever this is. I don’t care anymore. The Rental, do not rent. There’s better, far more compelling drama on the Disney channel.

Rated R For: violence, language throughout, drug use and some sexuality
Runtime: 88 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Starring: Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand, Jeremy Allen White
Directed By: Dave Franco

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2.5/ Acting: 3/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 2.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: No

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard