Fractured fairy tales have dominated this year’s box office, but most of the stories are pretty far removed from the real world. Enter The Brass Teapot, a topical spin on this formula that follows neither witch hunters nor giant slayers, but a couple of broke kids. Married protagonists Alice (Juno Temple) and John (Michael Angarano) find a shady solution to their debt in a teapot that responds to pain by filling itself with cash. It’s not long before the two use sadomasochism, body modification, and plenty of slapstick to amass themselves a fortune.
Until that point, Alice and John occupy a deeply familiar world where A students scrape by while underachievers make it big. We unfortunately don’t see much of this familiarity after the couple strike rich and abandon their friends, modesty, and morality. Director Ramaa Mosley focuses more on Alice and John’s increasingly deviant lifestyle than on plot and character development, and the once-exciting film eventually becomes a predictable preach against greed. As a result, a wonderful cast that includes Jack McBrayer, Bobby Moynihan, and BUST cover girl Alia Shawkat feels tragically underused. It’s all the more sad for the potential The Brass Teapot shows in its first third, where it’s exactly the daring, witty comedy it wants to be. Though the film starts as deeply intriguing satire, its writing is a testament to the careful attention a good idea deserves from its creators.
The Brass Teapot is now showing in select theaters.
Image via LA Times.