The Drop

It's been a long time since I've seen a movie botch a solid premise as badly as The Drop does. There's lots of potential for cringe comedy here. Unfortunately, you cringe for all the wrong reasons. The precipitating event happens 15 minutes into the film. Lex (Anna Konkle) and Mani (Jermaine Fowler) are a happily married couple considering starting a family. They journey to an island resort to attend a destination wedding. While there, Lex holds her friend Mia's baby – and accidentally drops it. The rest of the film details how this supposed-to-be-happy gathering becomes overshadowed by the incident.

Problem #1 with The Drop is that the baby requires medical attention. It's okay, but they have to rush the child to the hospital for inspection, and she's later seen sporting a protective helmet. A baby hitting concrete is not a great way to begin a comedy. Hitting soft grass and obviously being okay would have made the scenario more tenable, while still allowing an opportunity to explore the aftereffects. But that's minor compared to the fact that the movie avoids every possible comedic avenue. From this premise, I can think of all kinds of funny stuff that could be done, such as:

  • Mia could lose all her trust in Lex and go to absurd extremes to make her feel guilty.

  • Lex could assuage her guilt by humorously working overtime to make it up to Mia.

  • Lex could come up with a series of lame excuses for dropping the baby, none of which anyone would buy.

  • The rest of the group could split into contentious factions, with some feeling Lex was irresponsible and others insisting it was a freak occurrence that could have happened to anyone.

  • Mani could have second thoughts about his desire to have children with Lex after seeing her drop the kid.

    The Drop touches lightly on most of these things, without ever committing to any of them. Instead, we get scene after scene of the self-indulgent characters focusing on other things. Josh (Joshua Leonard) and Lindsay (Jillian Bell) try to enlist their friends in an investment deal. Shauna (Robin Thede) ruminates on her Hollywood career while her braggart partner (Utkarsh Ambudkar) makes up absurd lies. The group tries to figure out if one member is a closet Trump supporter. There's a creepy teenage boy looking to satisfy his sexual fantasies. Quite frankly, all of these people are obnoxious, so spending 90 minutes with them is a chore.

    And of the baby? Mani calls his mother a few times to ask if she ever dropped him, but the film never gets into any real doubts he has. After all, it has to make time for him and Lex do a dance routine to Montell Jordan's “This Is How We Do It” instead. Fowler (Coming 2 America) is an appealing presence, and he clearly could have gone deeper with better material that really explored how Mani feels about the situation. Konkle, on the other hand, is bland and charisma-free here, which doesn't help in the getting-laughs department.

    The idea of a dropped baby offers plenty of room for cringe comedy related to the themes of guilt, anger, irresponsibility, and plain old bad luck. (Imagine Larry David dropping an infant on Curb Your Enthusiasm.) The Drop finds none of it, leading to a laughless hour-and-a-half that feels four times as long as it actually is.

    out of four

    The Drop is unrated, but contains strong language, drug use, and sexual content. The running time is 1 hour and 32 minutes.