Director Josh Becker certainly needs to be praised for his ambition in making Morning, Noon & Night. Rarely do films come out handling drug addiction in a satirical way. Unfortunately, Becker’s film does not deliver on its promise, often feeling insincere. The film follows six people over the course of the day as they battle different forms of addiction.
Ultimately, the film was entertaining but somewhat underwhelming. Oddly enough, it feels almost like a sitcom because its wacky characters are placed in even whackier situations with an often comedic tone and a very clear moral. This feels off-putting because it’s cheesy rather than sincere.
The film has an anti-drug stance, but doesn’t always convey this effectively. There are a few moments in which the satirical treatment of addiction shines, and the film can show the horrors of drugs. That being said, there is a definite line between glorification and satire. In some scenes, the film doesn’t go over-the-top enough for it to cross into the realm of satire, instead of feeling like it is glorifying drug use.
The dialogue in the movie has some strong moments, especially towards the middle, but it does get off to a rough start and ends weakly. The first few scenes are a tad clumsy, and the last few scenes feel like the film is stumbling to its finish.
Additionally, a common flaw of ensemble/anthology films, the character development was lackluster. The movie develops the two leads, Cliff and Aaron, relatively well, but many of the supporting characters that carry the B plots needed to be a bit stronger. There are also some minor characters that are very stereotypical portrayals of an archetype.
The execution of the film is fine, although the film has a low budget. The cinematography and sound design of the film are both a questionable at times, almost giving the film an artificial feel. There is also a “trip” scene that isn’t particularly well-done. The CGI in this scene reveals the film’s lack of budget.
The score, on the other hand, is impressive. Sadly, it doesn’t always match the film’s tone completely, with the more upbeat sounds contrasting the downbeat message. However, the music by Joseph Loduca is compelling by itself, with a lot of great jazz flavors.
The cast is also pretty strong, too. John Manfredi and Frank Ondorf both do an excellent job in their roles. Manfredi is very over-the-top and funny, whereas Ondorf is quite subdued, allowing them to bounce off of each other well. However, Carly Schneider’s performance is rough, with her delivery of dialogue rather wooden.
As a whole, Morning, Noon & Night is average. It isn’t awful, but it’s rough around the edges and thinks it’s more profound than it actually is. Still, it’s surprisingly watchable and has great music and decent performances.
Morning, Noon & Night opens in select theaters beginning October 5.