Odenkirk shows tough-guy skills in black comedy ‘Nobody’

Bob Odenkirk in Nobody / 87North

Bob Odenkirk is a deftly funny actor who is right at home playing schlubby ne’er-do-wells like Saul in “Breaking Bad” and its spinoff “Better Call Saul,” but his latest film “Nobody” proves there is more than meets the eye with this 50-something funny man.

Push him in the corner or rather his character Hutch Mansell and this mild-mannered family-man can kick rump and take some names just like latter-day actions stars Keanu Reeves and Liam Neeson.

“Nobody” is a brutal and in its own way charming black comedy that takes corners like a Ferrari during its copious action scenes, but spits and sputters like a fixer-upper in between thanks to the awkward direction Ilya Naishuller. Naishuller excels at the action, but his more placid connective scenes grind the gears.

The film’s high point is when Odenkirk’s Hutch takes down a literal bus-load of hoods with a set of moves that would thrill Jackie Chan, and the action only escalates from there.

What prompted his butt-kicking tirade?

Hutch’s guilt over not using his “special set of skills” to better protect and defend his family when two thieves break into his suburban home. His wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) and son Blake (Gage Monroe) are sickened by his lack of backbone, but his young daughter (Paisley Cadorath) still adores him.

Before starting his family, Hutch had been an “auditor” for a black-ops government agency who did the dirty work that needed to be done and exercised extreme prejudice in situations too sticky to handled by normal, above-board agencies.

Hutch’s tirade on the bus put him at odds with a Russian drug lord Yulian Kuznetsov (Alesksei Serebryakov) who makes it his mission in life to take down Hutch and his family.

The plot is reminiscent of every Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris tough-guy movie you’ve ever seen, just with a very adept Odenkirk as the Clark Kent-like butt-kicker.

After the initial set-up, the film struggles a bit between action scenes, but if you like this type of action movie — which I do — you’ll likely will have some fun with Odenkirk’s odd-duck take.

By no means is the film a must-see movie. It’s more like one catch on late-night TV if you’re having trouble sleeping.

(R) 1 hr. 32 min.
Grade: C

New in Theaters

  • Nobody (watch trailer) / (R) 1 hr. 32 min. / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Point, Bentonville Skylight

Wednesday, March 31

  • Godzilla vs. Kong (watch trailer) / (PG-13) 1 hr. 53 min. / Malco Razorback
  • Violet Evergarden: The Movie (watch trailer) / (PG-13) 2 hr. 20 min. / Malco Razorback

Classic Corner – A Man For All Seasons

Paul Scofield and Susannah York in A Man for All Seasons / Highland Films

The 1966 production of “A Man for All Seasons” is a sumptuous effort, detailing how a good and devout man is caught up by the wheels of political change for standing his ground and defending his religion when a king opts to rewrite the rules of religion to ensure his lineage’s claim to the British throne.

The film, produced and directed by Fred Zinnemann (“High Noon” and “From Here to Eternity”) details, the personal story, struggle, and ultimate tragedy of Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield), the Lord Chancellor of England, who was the only member of King Henry the VIII’s Privy Counsel to oppose the attempt by Cardinal Wolsey (Orson Wells) to gain Henry an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon from Pope Clement because their marriage had produced no male heirs.

Henry and his counselors were seeking to avoid another dynastic wars like “The War of the Roses,” while characters like Thomas Cromwell (Leo McKern) sought to gain power for themselves by breaking England away from the Catholic Church and the Roman Papacy and forming the Church of England.

The film is lush and sumptuous with strong performances throughout. Its pacing might be a tad slow for modern audiences, but Zinnemann’s Oscars for Best Production and Best Director are well deserved.

Robert Shaw plays the lusty Henry to the hilt, as Scofield, who also played the part on Broadway, earns his Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of a man earnestly standing his religious ground against a force of nature like Henry, whom he enjoys as a friend, but can’t support in this venture because of his religious convictions.

The political chicanery in Robert Bolt’s Oscar-winning screenplay is splendidly detailed, clear, and duplicitous as the political gears grind against More’s steadfast adherence to his faith.

More doesn’t want to die, but he’d rather do so than turn from his convictions. Whether Catholic, protestant, agnostic, or atheist such a stand is indeed admirable and makes for a compelling plot.

The film plays on TBS at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Ten Commandments

Charlton Heston, Yvonne De Carlo, and John Derek in The Ten Commandments / Paramount Pictures

If you are of a certain age, the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille, Technicolor epic “The Ten Commandments” may be as much of anEaster tradition to you as hiding colored eggs and eating hollow chocolate bunnies. For decades ABC aired the film on Easter and in later years splitting it up over two nights.

The movie never fell into the public domain like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but the drama that pits Charlton Heston’s Moses against Yul Brynner’s Ramses in a battle over the children of Israel is as much a rite of spring as the aforementioned film is a herald for the Christmas season.

For two special showings on Sunday at 1 p.m. and Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Malco Razorback Theater, film fans will have the opportunity to see the dramatization of The Book of Exodus in its entirety on the big screen.

The movie won seven Oscars, including Best Picture, and despite the technological advances over the years, the film’s special effects still stand up stunningly well.

If you do opt to see the film at the theater, it’s a nearly four-hour event.

(G) 3 hr. 40 min.