Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie and read the reviews that critics have given it, then think I watched a different movie. Carnage is like that. I didn’t think anything could beat Your Highness for the worst movie of 2011 until I saw this. I’m sure on paper this movie sounded like a good idea. You have a talented director who has made excellent movies before. You literally have a cast of nothing but talented actors and actresses. How can you have Roman Polanski directing Chris Waltz, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Kate Winslet yet, the best you can up with is the most boring movie I have seen all year?
Based on a stage play, the movie is just four people talking about what bad parents they are to bad kids. Two sets of parents meet in a New York City apartment to discuss a schoolyard fight between their two sons. That’s it. That’s the entire 85 minutes. The movie goes nowhere. The dialogue is inane and the characters are infuriating predictable. On one side of it is the distracted corporate lawyer who’s glued to his Blackberry, Alan (Chris Waltz) and his long-suffering executive wife, Nancy (Kate Winslet). And, in the other corner we have the middle class couple who are (of course) the opposite of Alan and Nancy, Michael and Penelope (John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster).
As they talk and talk and talk about everything they can possibly think of but how to be better parents, we learn that all four people involved are miserable. Something the audience watching this figures out within the first ten minutes.