Dear Evan Hansen on VOD, a Woeful Misfire of a Broadway Adaptation

Expensive Evan Hansen quietly arrived on VOD after touchdown in theaters with a convincing SPLAT. It underperformed on the field workplace, and critics sharpened their claws on it prefer it was the second coming of Cats. And like that furry fiasco, Expensive Evan Hansen is a high-profile adaptation of a success Broadway manufacturing; The Perks of Being a Wallflower’s Stephen Chbosky directs, Ben Platt reprises the lead function that earned him Tony, Emmy and Grammy awards, and Amy Adams, Kaitlyn Dever and Julianne Moore have supporting roles. So ought to it have stayed on the stage? Does it should be fired into house? Does it suck rocks and depart the acrid style of stale paint thinner in our mouths? Ought to we nuke it from orbit, as a result of it’s the one means to make sure? In all probability.

The Gist: Evan Hansen (Platt) is the awkwardest child within the historical past of highschool. The tablet bottles on his dresser clarify that, though the movie by no means says what precisely the prognosis is, so file it beneath “misc. psychological sickness,” thus giving Platt license to offer the character a number of dozen nervous tics and mannerisms that we will see from the again row. Evan has no mates, his arm is in a solid (he fell out of a tree), he eats lunch alone, his single mom (Moore) works on a regular basis and his father is ghosting him. His therapist assigned him to jot down letters to himself in an try and construct up his vanity. “Expensive Evan Hansen,” they start. “Simply be your self,” they proceed. After which they fly off the rails into Neuroticsville, and you may’t assist however really feel empathy for the child.

Evan’s crush from afar is Zoe (Dever), guitarist within the jazz band, and her brother is Connor (Colton Ryan), the opposite faculty outcast, a sullen and offended child who’s been to drug rehab. In the future within the faculty library, Evan prints out considered one of his [TITLE OF MOVIE] letters, for no good purpose apart from as a result of the film wants the bodily plot system. Connor intercepts the letter, places it in his pocket and vamooses, ignoring Evan’s pleas to return it. Evan nervously checks each social media platform time and again, simply ready for Connor to submit it and humiliate him. A couple of fretful days go by, after which we be taught that Connor is useless. He took his personal life, and his dad and mom (Adams and Danny Pino) discovered the letter in his pocket. They consider Connor wrote it to Evan, and that their son had a secret pal. They thought he had no mates. They need Evan to inform all of them the issues they by no means knew about their late troubled son. They usually don’t appear to need to hearken to Evan stammer out the reality: They weren’t mates. Not even somewhat.

However Evan simply goes with it. Please don’t ask me why, pricey god, as a result of I don’t know, though he may need to lastly really feel essential to somebody, and perhaps, simply perhaps, exploit the scenario to get nearer to Zoe, like a complete ghoul. So he begins piling up lies, kicking off his inhumane marketing campaign by writing a sequence of phony electronic mail exchanges he says he had with Connor, and offers them to Connor’s dad and mom, who needs to be within the throes of grief, however however appear weirdly perky. At this level, chances are you’ll have to get out the ol’ Black and Decker drill and self-lobotomize (I like to recommend the ⅝” bit) to get by means of the remainder of the film, as a result of there’s almost two hours to go from right here, two hours that embrace quite a few egregiously earnest songs and a sequence of infuriating developments during which Evan digs himself deeper and deeper into his self-propagated bullshit. JUST TELL THE TRUTH YOU JERK.

Picture: ©Common/Courtesy Everett Assortment

What Motion pictures Will It Remind You Of?: Expensive Evan Hansen is like Eighth Grade if the filmmakers selected to make a musical and wrote a tone-deaf screenplay and customarily made all of the improper selections.

Efficiency Price Watching: I’ve loved Kaitlyn Dever’s work since her memorable run on Justified, and he or she’s great in Short Term 12 and Booksmart. Fascinating how she acquits herself from Expensive Evan Hansen’s mega-botched materials, the place stalwarts like Adams and Moore strike all of the improper notes.

Memorable Dialogue: I’d quote some lyrics from the quantity “Critically Me” right here, nevertheless it’s simply too rattling mortifying.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: None.

Our Take: One line of dialogue. One single line of dialogue would right this maddening fool plot and direct it into the realm of purpose, however noooooo, as an alternative, Evan is simply too Mentally In poor health to do the fitting factor, I suppose? I hope I’m improper with that assertion, nevertheless it positive appears to be the grossly tasteless fact of Expensive Evan Hansen — atop its use of suicide as a plot system, in fact. Yuck. Yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck. Yuck. And the story builds and builds upon this horrible miscalculation, and its blundering depiction of psychological sickness, and its flimsy illustration of grief, and its quaggy indictment of social media, and its completely unlikable protagonist, who hopes all this may blow over, however in fact it blows up, inflating like a balloon that’s simply ready to be burst so it could plummet to the earth.

Oh, and atop all this, the movie’s a musical that isn’t positive if folks break into tune simply as a part of its fictional actuality, or if the song-and-not-really-dance numbers are simply narrative asides permitting characters to disclose their hearts to us. I stand flummoxed. I suppose the songs are tremendous, in case you’re into the kind of plaintive sincerity that’s the equal of being repeatedly walloped throughout the schnozz with a sculling oar. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be realized right here about loving what you may have whilst you have it, particularly if the factor you may have is a fellow human being. You recognize, don’t take shit without any consideration, asshole. That’s an earnest sufficient message, and one can assume that it’s well-meaning. However Expensive Evan Hansen is phony and patronizing, with Platt’s embarrassing, and doubtless insulting, efficiency filling each nook of the display. Everybody concerned commits to the core tonal miscalculation, as in the event that they don’t notice the film is doing its damnedest to divide by zero.

Our Name: SKIP IT. Expensive Evan Hansen is a grim trudging cringe that lives as much as its popularity as a singular tonal failure. It’s woeful and Julianne Moore can’t sing and it feels prefer it’s every week lengthy. I didn’t look after it.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic based mostly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at or comply with him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Where to stream Dear Evan Hansen | Stream It or Skip It?


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