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Michael Angarano and Juno Temple make a great team, but The Brass Teapot is a big, loud turkey...
Magnolia / 101 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: June 18, 2013
Our beautiful young couple at the center of The Brass Teapot – Juno Temple as Alice and Michael Angarano as John – makes a completely and implicitly charming impression together. Everybody familiar with the Hollywood machine knows that there’s a special place in celluloid heaven for beautiful young folk who establish a strong repartee with each other, and The Brass Teapot knows well enough to default to this as often as it can.
Which is a good thing, because without The Brass Teapot’s impressive cast – Alexis Bledel and Bobby Moynihan also shine in smaller roles – the whole thing would fall apart like a house of cards. The movie’s paper-thin setup revolves around a fairy tale revamp that becomes groan-worthy within twenty minutes, and while there are peppered moments of goofy humor along the film’s pothole-ridden path, The Brass Teapot deflates early.
See, our shtick here is that the film’s central young lovers find themselves at an antique store where a particular object (can you guess?) entrances them to such a regard that Alice shoplifts the object. The legend around this teapot is that it is capable of bringing its owners unfathomable financial gain, but in order to reap these rewards, said owners must suffer. Yes, for every Benjamin the teapot brings, pain of one form or another must find its way into its owners’ lives.
Angarano is a slapstick master, and Temple’s cheeky sensuality certainly bring more nuance and lived-in enjoyment to these characters than they rightly deserve, but even though they give it the old college try, The Brass Teapot is milquetoast all the way. Perhaps if director Ramaa Mosley and company had swung a little wider in terms of the movie’s pain-as-deliverance motifs, the film might have a sexier, more dangerous black comedy vibe to it, but as it stands, The Brass Teapot is nothing more than a bland showcase for Temple’s and Angarano’s wasted talents.