Director: Jake Szymanski
Writer: Murray Miller
Cast: Andy Samberg, Kit Harington, Mary Steenburgen, Karen Gillan, Lena Dunham, Will Forte, June Squibb, Michael Sheen, Fred Armisen, Howie Mandel, David Copperfield, John McEnroe, Serena Williams, Jon Hamm.
I simply did not get this tv movie. I love weird, bizarre, random humor if it has a purpose or is biting or smart, but if it seems to be done just for shits and giggles then it drives me crazy. 7 Days in Hell is the kind of movie that you can tell the cast and filmmakers had a great time making, but that is not a very joyful experience for those watching at home. It is both so so broad and yet extremely specific in its satirizing of the British tennis world that it had me questioning who the intended audience even was in the first place.
The mockumentary focuses on a tennis match between up and coming tennis star Charles Poole (Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington) and faded superstar looking for redemption (Saturday Night Live‘s Andy Samberg) at the 2001 Wimbledon tournament. Due to several setbacks and bizarre events (weather, ties, orgies on the field) the game goes on for seven days, hence the title. The culmination is as tragic as it is random and ultimately unfunny.
While the show has an incredible collection of talented individuals, nobody really shines. Samberg is at his schticky worst, all grins and camera mugging. Harington proves that his laconic take on Jon Snow on the show that made him a star is not an acting choice, it’s just how he is. I am a huge Game of Thrones fan, and see why his character is important. I just don’t like the actor (blasphemous, I know). So many others pop up for no apparent reason. June Squibb as Queen Elizabeth II is a throwaway. Howie Mandel should never act again. Lena Dunham is unnecessary and unwelcome. Others disappear from screen before even making an impression. Some actual tennis players provide commentary to give this movie some credibility. David Copperfield is in it for… reasons???
Whatever. It’s not even really worth reviewing in the first place. I made a promise to myself to review any and every piece of pop culture that I watch in an effort to think more critically about what I consume, as well as being more attentive to media in the first place. I was with friends and we had watched the Netflix Valentine’s Day Michael Bolton special (which was awesome, even after a repeat viewing) and we thought it would be in the same vein. Nope. Oh well. At least it was only 45 minutes long.