SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! Typically, when the plot of a film involves a suicide pact, you don’t expect it to be gut-busting hilarious, and yet here we are with Jerrod Carmichael’s directorial debut, On the Count of Three. I have been a fan of Carmichael’s since The Carmichael Show, and through his stand-up, so I knew he was no stranger to comedy. I just wasn’t sure how he was going to make the plot’s framework fit into a comedic mold. But the director, who also stars in the film, and his fellow lead Christopher Abbott, share amazing chemistry that turns any run-of-the-mill conversation into entertainment.
Kevin (Christopher Abbott) is in a state-run mental hospital, having attempted suicide three days prior. We meet him as he’s trying to convince his therapist that he is ready to leave, only to blow up and call her a bi*ch when she says no. Luckily, Kevin gets a visit from his best friend, Val (Jerrod Carmichael). He creates a diversion with a cigarette and busts Kevin out of the hospital. It turns out that Kevin isn’t the only one who is suicidal. Val tried to hang himself in the bathroom of a job he quit that day.
“…Kevin and he should do a murder-suicide to solve both of their problems of existence.”
He then has the idea that Kevin and he should do a murder-suicide to solve both of their problems of existence. Instead of performing the deadly ritual at the beginning of the film like Val wants to, they decide that they will do whatever they want since this is their last day on Earth. This includes the two of them killing Kevin’s childhood psychiatrist, who harmed him irreparably (Henry Winkler).
Again, none of this looks funny on paper. The plot points are serious issues. What is funny is the conversations that Kevin and Val have along the way and the horrible missteps that occur in almost all of their badass plans for their final day. The whole cast is incredible, but that shouldn’t be surprising. Carmichael is a young comedic genius-in-the-making. Abbott is one of the best young actors out there, whom I’ve loved ever since Girls. So it’s no surprise to me that he has such impressive range and can manage to break your heart and crack you up simultaneously.
"…it's possible to find humor in even these situations."