Hell and Back review

Hell and Back is in theaters now. www.imbd.com

Lovers of silly stoner comedies, your wait is over ; “Hell and Back” is here.


From the studio that brought us “Robot Chicken” comes the new stop-motion film aimed at high school to college-age guys.


Two underachieving friends travel to hell where they contend with demons, angels and even the devil to win back their friend’s soul, who is sent to the underworld over a breath mint bargain gone wrong. The outlandish plot ties in classic Hollywood tropes as well as ancient Greek myths in the modern interpretation of the story of Orpheus.


Despite losing a little momentum in the beginning of the second act, the movie manages to keep the immature fart and sex jokes plentiful in an endearing way. While certainly not thought provoking, the movie has a “written while stoned” feel to it that conveys a confident, unselfconscious tone.


The star-studded cast includes Mila Kunis, Danny McBride, Susan Sarandon, Rob Riggle, Nick Swardson and Jon Benjamin, who all embrace the outrageous story with vigor. However, even the considerable acting talent is unable to uplift this comedy above sub-par status.


Riddled with offensive humor, nothing seems to be sacred to writers Hugh Sterbakov and Zeb Wells. Rape, heresy, incest, stripper angels and substance abuse are referenced at unprecedented levels. In an age where audiences seem primed and eager to cry offense, an unapologetic movie that pushes the envelope to this extent is uncommon.


However, the movie is far from perfect, or even very good. Some jokes fall flat and the poorly paced plot structure feels unpolished and under developed. Characters that could have been more richly explored are glossed over. Uninteresting or annoying characters never seem to go away. Plot holes are also frequent and unexplained. Then again it’s nothing more than a goofy comedy, and it does that well enough.


It is very clear that this was not intended to be a “good” movie. It is an entertaining comedy that wallows in fart jokes and obscene sex puns – in other words the bread and butter of men aged 18-35.


2.5/5 stars