Review: ODE TO JOY Is A Funny Rom-Com With A Great Cast

ode to joy carousel
Martin Freeman as “Charlie” in Jason Winer’s Ode to Joy. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films Release.

Directed by Jason Winer and starring Martin Freeman (The Hobbit trilogy), Jake Lacy (The Office), and Morena Baccarin (Deadpool), Ode to Joy is a new romantic comedy that is both hilarious and heartfelt. Because of a unique premise and a charming cast, this may just be one of the most lovable rom-coms of the summer.

This film is about a man with a disease causing him to faint anytime he experiences extreme emotions, particularly joy. And with it being a rom-com, it’s likely pretty obvious that he’s going to fall in love and have to deal with a set of emotions which he hasn’t ever been able to experience before. It’s an interesting twist on the warming of the cold heart trope, and the result is quite entertaining.

The character development is definitely one of the movie’s strongest aspects. It’s definitely hard not to love Charlie. Although he goes around looking constantly bitter on the outside, it is obvious that, deep down, he just wants to be happy and loved like all of us. The supporting characters, including Charlie’s love interest and his brother, are also really likable and compelling.

What is perhaps most surprising about this film is that it is able to be so heartwarming despite its very specific premise. It is unlikely that most audience members will be to relate with Charlie’s condition. However, we can almost all relate to his internal struggle and the way in which he has sacrificed his own happiness for so long in order to protect the people around him.

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Martin Freeman as “Charlie” and Jake Lacy as “Cooper” in Jason Winer’s Ode to Joy. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films Release.

The movie is also absolutely hilarious. Obviously, with this premise, there is going to be a bit of slapstick humor. However, the more effective comedy in the film plays off of the comedic talents of each of the actors. There is one particularly memorable scene in which a character, portrayed by Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) performs a humorously bad cover of The Cranberries’ song “Zombie”.

All of the members of the cast do an extremely good job in their roles. Freeman’s charisma really shines through in his leading role, and he’s able to give a performance that is extremely charming and fun to watch. Baccarin does a good job in her supporting role, being given more to do in this movie than be a damsel in distress. Lacy and Rauch are both hilarious in their comedic supporting roles too.

On a technical level, the film is straightforward, but effective. The use of music is perhaps the most notable part of the movie’s execution. In addition to the humorous cover of “Zombie”, the soundtrack is used for comedic purposes quite well. The eponymous composition by Beethoven is used as a recurring theme throughout.”

If you are looking for a light and funny romantic comedy to watch this season, look no further than Ode to Joy. Independent films like this deserve more attention, and the wonderful cast, who have their fair share of fans, may be able to attract sufficient eyes to this movie.

Ode to Joy hits theaters and VOD on August 9.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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