The Curse of Bridge Hollow fails to conjure up any laughs
Comedian Marlon Wayans gets into the Halloween spirit for his latest Netflix comedy, The Curse of Bridge Hollow. Director Jeff Wadlow is behind the camera while Todd Berger and John R. Morey pen the screenplay.
Howard Gordon (Marlon Wayans) is a family man who experienced a traumatic event as a child and now has misgivings when it comes to Halloween. The Brooklyn-based science teacher recently accepted a job that requires his family to move from the big city to the small town of Bridge Hollow.
His wife Emily (Kelly Rowland) is supportive as she's decided to give up her law career and follow her passion for making healthy desserts. Naturally, though, his teenage daughter Sydney (Pyrah Ferguson) isn't sold on moving. The cheerful Mayor Tammy (Lauren Lapkus) and his overzealous neighbor Sully (Rob Riggle) do their best to try and get in the spirit but to no avail.
When the big day arrives, Sydney accidentally releases an ancient and mischievous spirit on Halloween, which causes decorations to come alive and wreak havoc. Forced to work together, father and daughter must team up to save their town.
I've been a fan of Marlon Wayans since his blink-and-you-miss cameo in 1988's I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. A few years later, he showed drama chops in a PSA for the UNCF before finally breaking through as a featured player on In Living Color. While I was impressed with Wayans recent dramatic turns in Bel-Air On The Rocks and Respect, his last stand-up special was a chore to get through.
Considering the previous success with Netflix in the films Naked and Sextuplets, I hoped The Curse of Bridge Hollow would return Marlon to his comedy glory. I'm sad to say The Curse of Bridge Hollow is a miss. I'll start with the good. As the parent of a fourteen-year-old, I connected with the parent/child storyline. My son and I are at the point where dad jokes don't land as much, and he's developing his personality.
Marlon Wayans and Pyrah Ferguson have viable chemistry, and the script never paints Marlon as corny or Pyriah as overly mature. I also liked seeing how they communicate with Emily (Kelly Rowland), who doesn't play referee but instead tells her two favorite people to work things out. Rowland is pushed to the background and primarily used as punchline fodder for her lack of baking skills, but she is a good sport.
I think the biggest issue with the film is that Marlon Wayans and his usual writing partner Rick Alvarez weren't involved in the script. The jokes don't land, there aren't any memorable one-liners, and Marlon is neglected to cheap physical gags. The result would be better if Marlon were strictly in the producer role and cast another comic in the lead like Spank Horton or Donell Rawlings.
The supporting cast of well-known faces offers their regular performance style in the film, equating to a paycheck performance. The MVP of the film, though, is Priah Ferguson of Stranger Things fame, whom I'm sure will bring in viewers. Ferguson eschews Black Girl magic, hopefully leading to more lead roles for her.
While I'm sure family audiences and Halloween fanatics will get a kick out of The Curse of Bridge Hollow, it just didn't work for me.
Final Grade: D+
The Curse of Bridge Hollow is streaming on NETFLIX now