INCEST!!! That’s right! I said it. How is it that I would like any movie about the subject? As much as this film seemingly crosses the line, there is still a line the filmmakers play with. I have a few rules when it comes to art and comedy. First rule, nothing is off-limits…this is America. Second rule, if you’re going to tackle a highly charged, controversial subject, like this in a comedy, it must be both funny and clever, or you’re wasting your time and needlessly risking your reputation.
Is Call Me Brother funny? Yes, but in a Curb Your Enthusiasm uncomfortable kind of funny. As Tony and Lisa are confused about their feelings for each other, and as teenagers, they have no one to talk to about it, not even each other. They are bombarded with subtle hints and innocent innuendo from everyone—particularly their father and Tony’s friends.
Is Call Me Brother clever? Absolutely. The story and script are brilliant in how well it manages our emotions of confusion and disgust. It feeds these emotions little by little as if coaxing us into a trap. For the first half, they dance around the idea that maybe their step-siblings, and then bam, NOPE! The worst is confirmed. This relationship between the two walks down a very dark path, and you know you’re being strung along until the very end.
“…brilliant in how well it manages our emotions of confusion and disgust.”
Is Call Me Brother obscene? Absolutely…not. I don’t want to dwell on this, but most of what’s wrong with the story is in your head. What you’re thinking about the siblings is infinity worse in your mind than it is on screen. This story is a comedy that doesn’t tell jokes about incest; instead, it dances around it, and its choreography deserves the top prize from Dancing with the Stars.
Lastly, there is a sort of sweetness to the film. Diskmukes and Parrish are incredible as Tony and Lisa because the duo is incredibly likable and brilliantly plays each uncomfortable situation in just their facial expressions and restrained reactions. I’m not saying you’d root for the pair, but in some sick way, you just might.
If you know me personally, I’ll end the review with a warning. Don’t watch Call Me Brother! I’m just as appalled as you are. It represents everything reprehensible about Hollywood. Now to those who really know me…watch Call Me Brother…shhhhh! You didn’t hear it from me (winky emoji).
"…I’m not saying you’d root for the pair, but in some sick way, you just might."