7 Days In Hell (2015) [Review]

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7 Days In Hell – 7/10

I love a good mockumentary, they appear to be arguably easier to get right than a straight-up parody because the humour is rooted in the truth rather than something else that’s fictional. This probably shouldn’t be considered a movie, clocking in at just over 40 minutes, it is essentially an extended SNL skit that probably runs on a little longer than you would have liked.

Having a pop at the ESPN profiles (30 for 30) they put out, 7 Days In Hell tells the story of a Wimbledon Tennis match of epic proportions. Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg) and Charles Poole (Kit Harington) are two bitter rivals, vastly different tennis players and end up partaking in a match that lasts, well the clue is in the name, 7 days.

Samberg’s character is a bit of a renegade, adopted by Serena & Venus’s dad, a gifted tennis player but has an awful attitude and ego problem. Harington’s character is the polar opposite, forced into tennis by his mum, a complete nitwit who fumbles through life not really knowing what he is doing. Aside from these two, much like many actual documentaries the talking heads provide a lot of the insight into the events that took place. Serena Williams, David Copperfield and John McEnroe play deadpan characters of themselves, spliced between actors Michael Sheen and Will Forte among others, playing characters in totality, completely blending the lines of the truth.

On the surface, this had every reason to succeed but it was patchy in its execution. Much of the humour was repeated and crude, needless and pointless. The real laughs came from the realism, the parody of Wimbledon, the British, the Swedish, the Royal Family and the references to real life absurdities like the Taiwanese News Animations. The script was sharp, clever and witty, but it felt like they tried too hard to balance it out with physical slapstick styled comedy and the two didn’t gel at all.

Overall, it wasn’t bad, but 40 odd minutes of this felt too long. A shorter and more concise depiction of the 7 days, a heavier reliance on the dialogue and a trimming down of some of the less believable parts would have made this a more rounded mockumentary, as opposed to an inconsistent collection of sketches.

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