“Insurgent” isn’t worth the hype or the money

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First Posted: 3/20/2015

My, my, my! Oomph! Have your mother put her hand on your forehead, America, Because the nation is burning up with “Insurgent” fever!

Oomph! Just Oomph! Everybody’s talkin’ about it! In fact, so many people want to talk about this movie that the line to your office water cooler probably stretches way beyond Jennifer’s cubicle in accounts receivable (For those not in the know, Jennifer’s cubicle in accounts receivable is very far away from the water cooler) leaving your mouth, unopened, very dry and unable to form glowing, golden words about that movie you saw a few days ago.

But don’t worry, we –meaning you and this newspaper you’re half-reading as you wait for your pizza to be served because you left your phone in the car – can talk about this movie! We can discuss all of the broody super-hunks that sulk and smolder and holler. We can point at the sexed-up, Hilary Clinton-esque pantsuits Kate Winslet wears in this movie and nod our heads in agreement. We can even look back at the scene where a bunch of crows squawk out in anguish after Shailene Woodley cuts most of her hair off and shapes whatever remains into a Justin Bieber-like bob. But mostly we can look each other in the eye and ask what it was that possessed us to slap money on a counter and sit down to watch this shitty, off-brand “Hunger Games.”

Now, before I go any further, I need to ask, once again, why the sequels to movies based on young adult fiction don’t open with a recap of the previous film. I’m not emotionally invested enough in these types of movies to remember who Ashley Judd is playing or why she’s a ghost? I guess? I really need to be brought up to speed on why the characters in the previous film and Octavia Spencer are now hiding out in a place that looks like it could be The Land pavilion at EPCOT. You know, “Mad Men” opens every single episode with a brief recap of the previous episode. Do you really think you’re better than Elizabeth Moss, “Insurgent?” Here’s a hint, you’re not and she’s a Scientologist. At any rate, “Insurgent” is the second part in the “Divergent” saga and much like its obvious inspiration “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” is set in a dystopian future. But unlike “The Hunger Games” where its characters are segregated by a wealth-based caste system, the characters in “Divergent” are segregated by personality because “Divergent” has something to say about cliques and conformity and understanding the real treasure is the knowledge of liking yourself, man! It has a message. And, in “Insurgent,” that message is awkwardly beaten into your skull for two hours.

What isn’t a heavy-handed allegory in “Insurgent” is mostly uninvolving. Winslet — playing Lord Madame President of Future World, presumably — is wiping out Divergents (Divergents are basically genetic mutates who can fit into any of the personality based cliques) because, I don’t know, one of them keyed her car? It’s never really made clear why she’s doing it. She just is. Meanwhile Woodley and her band of damaged, bad boy hunks are aimlessly wandering around Not-Quite-Panem looking concerned and bored. Eventually Woodley literally wrestles with herself in order to symbolize the internal struggle we face whenever we give in to the Mr. Mean Jeans who lives inside our brains and tells us we have a fat face. Also, Naomi Watts has a disappointing dye job and shoots someone in the back of the head which I suppose is a cliffhanger of some sort? Whatevsies. Now and forever.

Granted, I’m not the audience for “Insurgent” but neither are films like “Harry Potter,” “The Hunger Games” or even “Twilight.” But at least with those movies I can understand why some people could appreciate them. Who’s the audience for “The Divergent” series? Who watches these plodding, joyless and obnoxiously obvious movies and says, “More please?” There simply isn’t any way these films have a fanbase. The only reason anyone sits through films like “Insurgent” is because it’s close enough to “The Hunger Games” to tide them over until an actual “Hunger Games” movie comes out.