Combustible Celluloid
Search for streaming:
NetflixHuluGoogle PlayGooglePlayCan I
With: (voices) Nick Swardson, Mila Kunis, Bob Odenkirk, T.J. Miller, Rob Riggle, Susan Sarandon, Danny McBride, Maria Bamford, Lance Bass, H. Jon Benjamin, Jennifer Coolidge
Written by: Tom Gianas, Hugh Sterbakov, Zeb Wells
Directed by: Tom Gianas, Ross Shuman
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content, language and some drug use
Running Time: 86
Date: 10/09/2015

Hell & Back (2015)

1/2 Star (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's a wonder how this stinker of a script, packed with foul language, sex references and scatalogical jokes, attracted such a good cast in the first place, and the finished animation is no better. Presumably inspired by such filthy, funny features as South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and Team America: World Police (2004), Hell & Back desperately clings to foul language and references to various bodily functions for its humor, and it emerges with not one single laugh.

Three friends work at a dilapidated amusement park, which is on the verge of going out of business. Remy (voiced by Nick Swardson) finds an ancient book with images of a weeping devil, and he makes a blood pact with Curt (voiced by Rob Riggle) over a mint. When Curt breaks it, he's sucked into hell, and Remy and Augie (T.J. Miller) go in after him. A pretty half-demon, Deema (Mila Kunis), offers to help them find their friend if they'll help her find Orpheus (voiced by Danny McBride). Meanwhile, the devil himself (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) is having problems of his own, with a confusing bureaucracy and an unrequited crush on an angel (voiced by Susan Sarandon).

The stop-motion animation is colorful and must have taken a great deal of work, but the result still looks rushed and cheap. The characters fall completely flat; no friendship or teamwork seems to exist between the "friends," and, really, it's hard to care much about any of these awful people. (If anything, Bob Odenkirk's devil is probably, ironically, the most appealing character.) Not even T.J. Miller, whose voicework in Big Hero 6 and the How to Train Your Dragon movies is so lovable, can help here.

Movies Unlimtied