Eli (Jesse Eisenberg) plays the piano beautifully, but he unfortunately manages to get into trouble, whether he tries to or not. He gets into trouble over the stress of taking care of his own mother who abuses drugs, and sister who has a clear problem with social interaction. When Eli attempts to check his mom into a rehab clinic, they reject her, saying that she needs “dirty urine” or insurance to be accepted. So off to a drug dealer they go, which is where we meet her drug dealer Sprinkles (Tracy Morgan), who was unfortunately out of drugs, so everyone is forced to group together to get the drugs so Eli’s mother can get high, so her urine can get dirty, so she can finally check into Rehab, so Eli can audition for a part in a prestigious music school.
Overall, the plot of the film is to get Eli to that audition, and his mother to rehab. The rest is simply a range of attempts of comedic scenarios dealing with drugs and unfortunate events. When the audition comes sooner than imagined, the plot shifts. I won’t go into detail of how the plot shifts, but it feels closer to playing everything you just saw up to that point over again. As it is, the plot is okay, but it would have been better without the overwhelming feeling of repetition.
It’s a comedic adventure movie, so there are going to be a ton of obstacles along the way. That’s all fine. What defines the success of movies like these is if the comedy produces laughter and if the adventure is something new. The comedy is funny…sometimes. It does, however, border along the lines of just…decent enough to warrant one viewing without stopping, but beyond that may never see the light of day again. The adventure actually is pretty original, as is the story to a point, but it still has that missing factor that you may have trouble placing a finger on.
No matter how hard Tracy Morgan tries to act serious, he can’t. There are obvious moments in the film where he tries to have his moment, but it falls short. Jesse Eisenberg, on the other hand, has proved his acting abilities time and time again, and even though this role was primarily comedic, his general character had very real ambitions and issues which fit pretty nicely into the structure of the film. Even though the whole team of family and drug dealers worked out splendidly, only Jesse and Tracy come out the most memorable. However memorable they are, it wouldn’t take long to forget a lot of the acting, characters, and even the story. The one step that would have taken this film out of the gloom and doom would be to have casted another actor for Sprinkles. It may be harsh, but both Eli and Sprinkles characters had important aspects about their lives that they had to correctly present, Jesse did fantastic and followed through, and Tracy didn’t.
In the end you have to ask yourself how it was, and the answer to that will often be “just alright”. So if you feel like watching a movie that is “just alright”, then this film will work wonders with you. If you want a “phenomenal” movie, on the other hand, it may take more digging. “Why Stop Now?” comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Dec. 11!