‘Nerd Land’ Movie Review – Is a Messy, Unfunny Comedy

I was excited about Nerd Land. It’s an R-rated comedy with a great cast, and some truly funny people behind it. It’s a movie about fame, too, a movie about people who are desperate to get ahead. I loved Nightcrawler, and I generally love the idea that Hollywood is capitalism at its worst, a place where getting ahead means destroying everything in your wake.

I wish Nerd Land was that kind of film. I wish it had something new to say, or even something to say that could contribute to the conversation. Unfortunately, Nerd Land is a mess. It’s a movie that finds a rhythm, and then immediately changes it, as if it’s rejecting any coherence or structure. Perhaps I should back up.

Nerd Land is an animated film that follows Elliot (Patton Oswalt) and John (Paul Rudd) as they lead dead-end lives in Hollywood. Eventually, the pair decides that they’re willing to do anything to get famous, and so they decide to set off on a killing spree. This is a radical idea, and it’s arrived at rather quickly. Still, it would have been a preferable experience to the one we actually got.

Nerd Land abandons this premise, just as it abandons everything else it tries to do. Even worse, Nerd Land’s ideas are lazy ones, ones we’ve all seen before. It’s a condemnation of fame-mongering, but it’s not an original one, and it doesn’t jive well with the vulgar, often flat out disgusting tone that Nerd Land has during its comedy beats.

The cardinal sin of this movie is not its plot or its ideas though, it’s the fact that it is aggressively unfunny. Its jokes rarely land, and many of them are even lazier than the plotting. I found it offensive, to be honest. This movie appeals to our most basic instincts, which is fine, but even after it does that, the jokes it tells never work.

Nerd Land is a failure, and it doesn’t work on any level. I genuinely appreciate the ideas it’s working towards; they’re smart, relevant ones about a society so obsessed with notoriety that the ends always justifies the means, but Nerd Land doesn’t follow through on these ideas. Nerd Land doesn’t really follow through on anything.

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