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I’m Totally Fine Review – A Cringe Inducing Comedy With No Laughs

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I had the chance to speak with comedian and actress Jillian Bell in September. She was promoting her directorial debut, the music video for Ben Abraham’s If I Didn’t Love You. This was before I had the opportunity to see I’m Totally Fine. She was such a joy to speak with, carrying an effortless enthusiasm and lightheartedness that was genuine and contagious. I was already a fan of Jillian’s from her early days on Comedy Central’s Workaholics. But by the end of our chat, I found myself even more enamored with her, which made watching I’m Totally Fine, all the more difficult to endure.

When Vanessa’s (Jillian Bell) best friend and business partner, Jennifer (Natalie Morales), passes away unexpectedly, she retreats into solitude and attempts to cope with her whirlwind of emotions. However, her grief is complicated by the sudden reappearance of  her deceased friend. Or is really her friend, at all? She claims to be an alien being utilizing the appearance of Jennifer in order to study the human species on earth.

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Vanessa (Jillian Bell) and Jennifer (Natalie Morales) in ‘I’m Totally Fine.’

Also Read: Jillian Bell Talks About Her Directorial Debut (Exclusive)

I’m Totally Fine is a story about coping with great loss disguised as a science-fiction, buddy comedy. Director Brandon Dermer tries (and fails) to utilize the unique brush of an alien visitor to paint a meaningful and impactful story of heartache. It’s a concept I’m intrigued by and one I would love to see done well. But no matter how good the idea is, it only works if all of the pieces are there. I’m Totally Fine crumbles beneath its script and some incredibly odd creative choices.

For example, Jennifer (or at least the alien who resembles Jennifer) speaks in a cartoonish, and cringe inducing dictation throughout the film’s entire runtime. It’s the type of voice that a six year old would use while playing aliens and robots in their living room. It was grating for the first ten minutes and mind numbing after that. It’s a shame because this commitment to a funny voice prevents Natalie Morales from being able to showcase how truly talented she is.

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Jillian Bell as Vanessa in ‘I’m Totally Fine.’

They say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Vanessa works her way through all of the stages, and Jillian Bell gives a valiant effort in a performance that is far more dramatic than it is comedic. Unfortunately nearly every scene misses the mark, choosing to portray emotion through melancholy scenic shots and mellow music, rather than through significant character moments.

I’m Totally Fine is bad. It’s a comedy with no laughs and science-fiction film with no real science-fiction. It’s a cringe inducing experience that I would not willingly endure again. I respect Jillian Bell for tackling a role that differs from her ordinary fair. However, this was not the right film for her. We know that she can lead a dramedy, she’s proven it with Brittany Runs A Marathon. Let’s just hope her next outing is better than this one.

2 Out of 10

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Written by Joshua Ryan

Joshua Ryan is the Creative Coordinator and Head Film Critic for FandomWire. He's a member of the Critics Choice Association and spokesperson for the Critics Association of Central Florida. Joshua is also one of the hosts of the FandomWire review based Podcast, Cinema Stubs.

Twitter: @MrMovieGuy86 Instagram: @MrMovieGuy86