(Lisa recently discovered that she only has about 8 hours of space left on her DVR! It turns out that she’s been recording movies from July and she just hasn’t gotten around to watching and reviewing them yet. So, once again, Lisa is cleaning out her DVR! She is going to try to watch and review 52 movies by the end of Thursday, December 8th! Will she make it? Keep checking the site to find out!)
I recorded Term Life off one of the Starz channels on November 13th.
Vince Vaughn co-starred in two movies in 2016 and both of them were a little bit different from the fratty comedies for which he is best known. One of the movies was Hacksaw Ridge, in which Vaughn was cast against type as a tough drill sergeant. Hacksaw Ridge is one of the best films of the year and it features Vaughn’s best work since he appeared in 2007’s Into The Wild. The other film was Term Life, which had a very limited released in April and is now popping up on cable.
In Term Life, Vaughn plays Nick Barrow. Nick is a thief but he doesn’t actually steal anything. Instead, he plots heists and then sells his plans to the highest bidder. However, Nick has somehow managed to get in trouble with the mob, with a corrupt cop (Bill Paxton), and with … well, with everyone. I say somehow because it wasn’t always clear why everyone was so obsessed with killing Nick. They just were.
Knowing that his days are probably numbered, Nick takes out a life insurance policy on himself. He names, as the sole beneficiary, his estranged daughter, Cate (Hailee Steinfeld). With his reluctant daughter accompanying him, he goes on the run. While Nick and Cate finally start to bond and repair their damaged relationship, the very bad men searching for Nick kill a lot of people.
So, this is a weird one. At times, this film is a typical generation gap comedy, with Vaughn playing the former-cool-guy-turned-befuddled-dad who freaks out when he sees Cate’s bra hanging from a shower rod. This part of the film is actually kinda likable. Vaughn and Steinfeld are believable as father-and-daughter and their scenes together are sweet if predictable.
But then you’ve got the rest of the film, which is basically Bill Paxton brutally murdering people. The violence comes on so strong that it feels totally out-of-place when mixed in with scenes of Nick and Cate bonding. It’s such an abrupt tonal shift that it makes it impossible to get into the film.
Term Life has a cobbled together feel to it and it doesn’t help that it features the type of heavy-handed narration that feels as if it was added at the last minute in a desperate attempt to bring some sort of coherent structure to a messy film. On the plus side, both Vaughn and Steinfeld are believable and you occasionally care about their father-daughter relationship. On the negative side, likable characters keep dying.
In other words, see Hacksaw Ridge.