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On the Count of Three

By Lorry Kikta | January 31, 2021

Then, of course, there is Tiffany Haddish as Val’s girlfriend. I love, love, love Haddish. She can do wrong, in my opinion, and this is just more proof of the pudding. She manages to bring the fire to a more serious role than what we’re accustomed to seeing her. Lavell Crawford, another comedy legend, is wonderful as the guys’ jovial former employer at a BMX shop. And yet another comedy luminary, J.B. Smoove, plays Val’s abusive, snake-in-the-grass father. Even though his scene could’ve been played dead seriously considering the subject matter, it is played for laughs and proves to be hilarious. Henry Winkler is creepy and smug, which we’ve come to know he’s great at playing. This is no exception.

While On the Count of Three is situationally hilarious, it is still a heartbreaking treatise about mental illness in America. Kevin is at the end of his rope, having tried every form of therapy and medication and yet no change. This is a reality that many people face. Val works at a job he hates and doesn’t want to repeat the same mundanity throughout his entire life. This is also very real for a large number of people. The fact that both characters experienced some form of abuse and bullying in their childhood is another stark reality. Carmicheal said in a Q&A that he thinks it’s possible to find humor in even these situations.

“…situationally hilarious…[and] a heartbreaking treatise about mental illness…”

Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch wrote a phenomenal script that encompasses the human condition better than almost any other comedy I’ve ever seen. Though, I’m not really sure if I could call this a comedy. I did laugh my a** off, especially when Kevin is singing along to “Last Resort” by Papa Roach while angrily driving to stalk a guy who bullied him in high school. I also cried like a baby at the end, which I will absolutely not give away. So I guess we could refer to it as a term I loathe, a “dramedy,” but I won’t do that because, again, I hate that word. It’s more like a pitch-black comedy for which you’ll need to have some tissues on-hand.

Anyway, I’m sure you can tell by the way I’m rambling on that I am a huge fan of On the Count of Three. The thing is, I bet you will be too as soon as you watch it.

On the Count of Three premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

On the Count of Three (2021)

Directed: Jerrod Carmichael

Written: Ari Katcher, Ryan Welch

Starring: Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Abbott, Tiffany Haddish, Lavell Crawfod, J.B. Smoove, Henry Winkler, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

On the Count of Three Image

"…it's possible to find humor in even these situations."

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