The Mitchells Vs. The Machines Image

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines

By Bobby LePire | May 6, 2021

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines opens with Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) getting ready to leave home to attend film school in Los Angeles. The night before she flies out, Katie wishes to show her family — dad Rick (Danny McBride), mom Linda (Maya Rudolph), and dinosaur obsessed, younger brother Aaron (Michael Rianda) — her latest short, which serves as a goodbye/I’ll miss you message to them. However, her dad, who never seems to understand her artistic pursuits, is dismissive of the production, and in trying to get him to watch the whole thing, Katie’s laptop breaks.

Linda, who is tired of playing peacekeeper, convinces her husband to make it up to their daughter. Well, Rick takes this idea too far, cancels Katie’s plane ticket, and gets the whole family to go on a road trip to drop her off at the university. However, the trip goes pear-shaped from the jump as the Mitchells do not get on well as a family unit. Oh, and because Silicon Valley titan Mark (Eric André) releases his latest invention — a line of artificially intelligent robots who immediately turn evil and wish to subjugate humankind. Through sheer dumb luck, the Mitchells are able to avoid capture and prove to be the only hope in stopping the robot uprising.

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines is the worst film of the year to date, and it will be quite the impressive feat, in all the wrong ways, for any title to dethrone this abomination from its place atop the crap heap. What makes it so bad? Well, almost everything, but seeing as it is an animated production, let’s start with that. The majority of the film is 3D animated, with traditional 2D elements sneaking in to represent the characters’ inner thoughts or feelings. For those who enjoy comedic anime, this is nothing new, and it works perfectly fine here, even if it is occasionally a bit too much at once. The first few minutes is such an onslaught of information and stimuli that it feels like the viewer took acid before sitting down to watch the film. 2D animation is also used in various parts of Katie’s films, the tour de force being her Dog Cop series. While the integration of the two styles is fine, there is so much visual stylization happening all the time that the world is never given the proper time to breathe and suck the audience in.

“…a line of artificially intelligent robots…immediately turn evil and wish to subjugate humankind.”

What is unforgivable and absolutely idiotic about the animation in The Mitchells Vs. The Machines is the use of real-life elements. Picture frames use actual stock photos, a video of a screaming monkey, and other sundries throughout are real. It is very confusing as there is no rhyme or reason to how they are being used, so instead of being amusing or funny, their appearances just snap one out of the scene at hand.

Mind you, it is not like the story or the characters are so engrossing that anyone watching will care about them or the outcome. Minus Katie and Aaron, the other characters are all equally grating and obnoxious. Rick is the biggest sinner here, as he is less than one-note. He’s pretty handy, to the point that he gives screwdrivers as presents, and he does not understand his daughter’s artistic pursuits. That is all there is to him. Why Rick does not get Katie or is unsupportive of her endeavors is never explored.

In the Albert Brooks directed comedy Mother, he plays a successful novelist who moves back in with his mother after getting divorced again. Their relationship is tense, with the two constantly trading stinging barbs back and forth. Why? Because the mom is resentful of her son’s success as she had ambitions to be a writer before he was born. This gives their every interaction and conversation meaning beyond hurtful banter. But such a relationship is never established between Rick and Katie. He is such a blank slate that his job is never actually defined, though it is hinted he does woodworking. But vague implications do not a person form, so Rick’s entire arc does not make sense because a non-entity with no discernible traits cannot change. After all, he can be anything at any time.

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (2021)

Directed and Written: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe

Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Eric André, Michael Rianda, etc.

Movie score: 1/10

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines Image

"…the worst film of the year."

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  1. A Zoomer says:

    Good review. 7/10. I thought this movie was atrocious and absolutely unfunny at every turn. No one else seems to notice this except for a very few amount of commenters under reviews and videos about this hogwash. For me, I thought the Furby scene was obnoxious though, and the bumbling nonsense that the difunctional family did at the end to somehow save the whole city/world was insanely stupid. When the family should have failed the mission, some Deus Ex Machina plot hole saves them. Annoying. Unsatisfying. The “villain” didn’t even know how to handle his own rebelling and defective A.I bots. What a waste of a character.

    Just because stylization, colorful visuals and uniqueness are admired by many doesn’t mean you must overuse these qualities in every moment of silence or whenever there’s a pause in this film. Give it a BREAK. And to mix those things with AWFUL and aged internet humor is worse than smelling fresh vomit. It’s not exciting, it’s not good; it’s distracting. “But Katie is unique! That’s LiTeRaLlY her character, so the funni ha ha 2D stuff HAS to be there! HEE-HAW.” No it doesn’t. It’s an embarrassing, foolish take on what the writers think young teens and young adults find funny in current year. If this film came out in 2010, then this would be a somewhat reasonable excuse, but alas, this isn’t so. Precious little Katie and her annoying family have the exact traits that fuel the fire for what makes people like her get bullied for simply existing. Everything that they do, especially Katie, is so viscerally unlikeable that I was expecting her to learn some kind of lesson at the end from her dad, the villain tech guy, or from an evil robot about how being a self-centered diglett trying to get into film school with terrible YouTube videos and a horrid grasp on “comedy” isn’t going to get her anywhere in life or into a real career. She needed to be told to grow up and that college-level career stuff isn’t about playing with trinkets and spinning in circles with her bug-eyed dog. There could have been a lesson about responsibility and such; SOMETHING non-generic, but no. She girl-bossed until sunrise and flew through the sky shooting ze evil robots while poorly singing Live Your Life with her dad. “Family good!!1!1!! Quirky good1!!1!! Be yourself good!!!”. Nothing of value was gained after watching this movie. No, it wasn’t a good watch. The tropes and lessons have been said and done before BETTER in other animated kids movies. Kids, teens, and young adults deserve better than this! “Good” animation isn’t enough anymore!

    Anyway, there’s just way too much to unpack moment by moment about the horrors of this film. The pop-culture references will make this movie age like rotting cheese sizzling in direct sunlight. I’d say the ONLY reasonably tolerable things about this movie were the 2 defective robots that tagged along with Ms. Redhead Glasses and her incompetent parents and terribly voiced little brother after the fallout. Those robots were MILDY charming sometimes.

    The TL;DR is: this movie is 1/10 (perhaps even less?). Not even the animation saves it. PLEASE, audience, there is no good reason to be praising this putrid trash fire. The film is NOT great. You’re just overreacting to nothing special, and you have the palate of a cows backside when it comes to what you think is a good kids movie, if you genuinely enjoyed this with 0 complaints. GOODNIGHT.

  2. Suburb_dweller says:

    The movie is a farce and a laugh root from the word: “Go”. The same can be said if this review.

  3. James Jacobs says:

    You’re an idiot!!! This is a great movie. I loved it.

  4. Grant Ryan says:

    Worst review of the year. Okay you didn’t like it, but terrible, self-serving, comically bad criticism.

  5. Liam says:

    I had to have a quick gander just to see what absolute nobber would give this movie the title ‘Worst of the Year’ and a 1/10.
    Bloody awful “look at meeee” review and a shitty website to boot, so need to ever come back.

  6. Albert says:

    Yeah, this is exactly how I felt. It’s like someone watched YouTube videos (and didn’t understand them), then tried to make a movie out of that concept, with the tired coming of age elements tacked on. It tries too hard, and doesn’t succeed on any level for me.

    The use of realistic elements can be well done in a cartoon. This was just jarring, and irritating. The visuals set my teeth on edge from the first moment.

  7. Arawak says:

    I actually agree that the movie was an onslaught of animation and visually tiring at times, but to call it the worst movie of anything is a huge stretch and dismissive of what is otherwise a hilarious and touching action comedy with biting social satire. In fact I found it made its comments on technology addiction better than Pixar’s Wall-E. Objectively speaking, the movie was competent in all aspects, if not absolutely brilliant. The 2D cutouts worked and were on point. It’s an old gag to have realistic images juxtaposed in cartoons, it’s been done in Spongebob and many other shows. I don’t think you are giving the movie a fair chance.

  8. lol says:

    Congrats on playing the “contrarian trying to get attention” role that is normally reserved for some a-hole at the National Review. Your medal is in the mail.

  9. Rog says:

    Congratulations Film Threat and Bobby! You have written a review bashing this film. You are entitled to not like the film and write a review about not liking it. However, your review seems like a thinly veiled attempt at getting eyes on you, your review, and your website.
    While top film critics typically disagree and critics all have an opinion (it’s literally their job) after reading your review, you seem to be in a very small group of critics that didn’t enjoy this movie. I will make sure that I keep an eye out for Film Threat and actively avoid your website and reviews. If this website is going to do their best at playing the “Come look at me” card, I will make sure I do the opposite and steer clear.
    I do hope this review was worth it as I’m sure you have lost an incredible amount of credibility by exercising your right to not only dislike the film, but completely destroy it. I do hope the ad revenue is worth it.

  10. Bumbuls says:

    I wish I had read this review before wasting evening, the movie is total rubbish.

  11. Waylon Bedlam says:

    Our opinions about movies are subjective by their very nature. As such, it’s virtually impossible for someone’s opinion to be objectively wrong about a movie. Nevertheless, you managed to pull it off here, Mr. LePire. Hats off.

  12. rodrigo gaspar says:

    Did you get that it is an animation?

  13. Todd D says:

    Congrats on getting noticed! I noticed you! Your opinion and critique have been noticed in a sea of positive reviews! Contrarians unite!

  14. Kara K. says:

    I give this review a 1/10. We get that you like writing reviews… but this one falls short. Maybe stick to analyzing the genre of films that you enjoy watching.

    Quite frankly, at it’s base you appear to have forgotten about something termed, “Suspension of disbelief.” Something that was kind of obvious throughout the review, but made most obvious with your lines, ” How did the robots and their leader (who is not a surprise and easy to figure, but no spoilers, so won’t be named here) build an entire compound to house the humans without someone noticing? Or was it constructed in the 30 seconds between switching from good and evil and the kidnappings beginning? If so, how exactly? How do …. ”

    We get it, we get it. You didn’t like the movie. Or rather this movie isn’t for you, and that’s okay. But in turn… your reviews, such as those talking about the absurdist humor to be found in slasher films, may be better suited for that. And not so much for well, the feel good family style movies that have the dumb/funny, “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” vibes.

    Also yes, I get the feeling that my grammar, and the like may be dissected here in some form of biting come back. But I’ll happily state… I’m no grammar professional, or writing coach. I grew up a professed biology nerd, who wanted to be a doctor and then ended up getting accepted to med school but then changed her mind. So at least you have an accurate frame of reference to shoot back at me with.

    All that said, I still give this review a 1/10. HAVE AT YOU!

  15. Father Ben says:

    What movie is worth 1/10? You’re out of your mind or just trolling. Just because you’re a movie critique, you don’t have to be critical of everything. You’re allowed to have an opinion of course but we’re allowed to critique you too and…I can’t imagine you being fun at the kinds of parties I like to go to where people are fun and can experience joy out of a film like this. You’d be a hit at a party full of negative people who s**t on anything that is good because it makes you ‘different.

    The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (2021)
    Best film of the year. Watched it three times over the weekend.

  16. Farmer Ted says:

    Why was this published when you clearly didn’t see this movie?

    • Bobby LePire says:

      I must not have seen the film because… I didn’t mindlessly like it as (seemingly) everyone else did? Yeah, dissenting opinions, not allowed. How dare someone not agree with me? There’s no WAY we could have watched the same thing and had different reactions as, after all, everyone is the exact same, right?

      • Walks says:

        I understood and agreed with your points about the animation, especially not giving it time to breath and the jarring aspects of the cutaways. I don’t understand the take on the dad though. You suggested his motivations or reasons for resisting his daughter’s artistic endeavors weren’t clear – but that’s such an essential and obvious part of the movie that it didn’t need to be explained for most viewers I think. He didn’t want her to grow up and leave the home… It’s a trope as old as time, or at least 80/90’s sitcoms in their latter seasons. Even a less charitable reading would still be about him being out of touch and more practical by nature, another well worn dynamic in movies and tv.

  17. Yibril Salah says:

    you must be fun at parties

    • Bobby LePire says:

      What’s the correlation between disliking a movie and partying? The two do not go hand in hand.

      • ColdSoba says:

        Bruh its just a metaphor like dude really its not that serious

        • Nate says:

          This absolutely was the worst movie of the year, in an admittedly pretty bad year for cinema. There are many great animated features out there that have depth, character and enough cohesiveness to convey mature themes in ways that go beyond ‘family goooooood’. I find it surprising that the vast majority of viewers seem to have soaked it all up, but I guess the ability to sit for 1.5 hours without having to follow a plot or spend any of that time digesting a concept can be liberating. The film actually inhibits the formation of any complete thoughts with its rapid jumping form one incoherent half-baked idea to another. What really blows my mind though, is those of you coming here to criticize someone writing an opinion of the movie that they don’t like. There are plenty of outlets salivating over the movie for you people to post your equally slobbery comments on if you want… why come here. Independent thinking is scary I know, but you’ll all be safer if you stay in your Kool-Aid filled world.

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