CineMarterCooties - Circle Circle, Dot Dot; Now You've Got Killer Children
Cooties just wants to be funny, be gory, and maybe offend those who think that children are untouchables in entertainment.
When the movie tries to build to its finale, which involves some of the bloodiest, over-the-top violence you're going to see this year, it begins to get boring. It's more enjoyable when it's pointing out and making fun of some of the tropes of the genre than when it's actively imbibing in them. It never gets flat-out boring, but it does feel frustrating that it had so much potential that gets wasted in favor of a more generic conclusion - right up to its non-ending of a final scene, which comes across like the filmmakers ran out of money and had to come up with an impromptu way to end the movie.
As our lead, Elijah Wood gets some of the best moments. He gives his character a dry sense of humor, and the baggage that he brings with him - both as a former child actor and with some of his older roles - help some of the jokes. Alison Pill gets the second most laughs, particularly when she finds herself having enough with the situation midway through. Rainn Wilson is more annoying than funny, while Jack McBrayer, Nasim Pedrad, and Leigh Whannell don't have enough in terms of character to make an impression. They each get a few good lines, but I wish you luck in remembering them even ten minutes after Cooties ends.
Outside of a brief interlude in which the characters discuss how underappreciated teachers are in the modern era, Cooties is all about teachers either running from or murdering children, all done to make us laugh. This isn't a deep movie by any stretch, nor does it want to be. Cooties just wants to be funny, be gory, and maybe offend those who think that children are untouchables in entertainment. It works when it comes to these things, at least for a while. I found it less funny as it progressed, perhaps because I grew tired of the one-note characters, but it does have some good lines. It's a mixed bag, one that had more potential than was realized.
Bottom Line: Cooties starts to lose momentum after its first 20 minutes, but it still has enough laughs scattered throughout that it'll serve as a passable distraction - or a cult movie.
Recommendation: Don't eat chicken nuggets. Ever. Just don't do it. But especially don't eat them during Cooties.
If you want more of Matthew "Marter" Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.