(WTNH) — “Old School,” “Road Trip,” and the “Hangover” movies. It makes sense that the hilarious writer/director Todd Phillips would make a “Joker” movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, right? Because Phoenix comes across as just as much of a cut-up as Zach Galifinakis and Will Ferrell, yet here we are.
Phillips has immersed himself in the tale of Batman’s biggest bad guy — Just without Batman. But he does have Robert De Niro, who plays a late-night TV host whose show Arthur Fleck – this soon-to-be Joker – dreams of being on. De Niro fits here too, as Phillips shoots the film with a 70’s “Mean Streets” vibe, and he nails it too.
Fleck lives at home with his mom and just can’t get his career off the ground or himself off his therapist’s couch. This joker is no Jack Nicholson – and he’s even farther away from Caesar Romero from the old Batman TV show. He’s an emaciated, tortured soul, bullied to the point where you could actually root for the guy and see him as the anti-hero so many now do. Credit to Phoenix who goes out of his way to put the maniac on display.
His Joker isn’t in on the joke. Shame to see Todd Phillips give up the bromance comedies for good, as he’s saying he’s doing.
A Galifinakis Robin? Holy Oscar, Batman!
“Joker” is rated R.