Over a year after the film premiered during Sundance 2021, On the Count of Three is finally getting a theatrical release.
This is not a light film by any means. In fact, this is a film that touches on mental illness and suicide. It’s a dark comedy even though there is nothing about suicide that is funny. This is exactly why we see the usual suicide hotline message before the film comes to an end. The gist of the film is that we’re following Val (Jerrod Carmichael) and Kevin (Christopher Abbott) on their last day before ending their lives. That’s all I’m going to say in terms of the plot itself.
In terms of its direction, Carmichael has a firm grasp of what he wants behind the camera. For what its work, this film comes before the recent comedy special. My assumption is that the studio waited to release the film following its acquisition. In doing so, they also got it out of a very crowded 2021 awards season. If this is the case, it would have been interesting to see what the conversation would be like if the film had been released prior to the Rothaniel comedy special on HBO Max. Yes, this film did get a premiere in early 2021. However, not everyone buys tickets for Sundance let alone has the money to attend Sundance in a non-hybrid year. That’s the beauty of the era we’re now living in–you can “attend” Sundance without traveling to Park City.
Ari Katcher, one of the screenwriters, co-created The Carmichael Show. Katcher, writing the script with Ramy co-creator Ryan Welch, knows how to write to Carmichael’s strengths. Given how dark the film is, I’m not sure how much room there was for improv on set. When you cast the likes of Tiffany Haddish and Henry Winkler, it means this is a film that means serious business. Haddish never goes over the top in ways that we might see her in other films. Winkler, an acting veteran, brings the necessary gravitas.
On the Count of the Three is a promising directorial debut feature for comedian/filmmaker Jerrod Carmichael.
DIRECTOR: Jerrod Carmichael
SCREENWRITERS: Ari Katcher & Ryan Welch
CAST: Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Abbott, Tiffany Haddish, Lavell Crawford, with JB Smoove and Henry Winkler
United Artists Releasing will release On the Count of Three in theaters on May 13, 2022. Grade: 3.5/5
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