We could all use time away from our devices. Having access to the entirety of the internet at all times of day has definitely had a negative impact on all of us. Whether it's doomscrolling on Twitter, comparing ourselves to the seemingly perfect people on Instagram, or blurring the line between work time and personal time, the once-useful tech has us glued, ignoring the people around us and our environment. All this is to say that Unplugging has its heart in the right place. Unfortunately, its funny bone is nowhere to be found. This ostensible romantic comedy has no big laughs. I mildly chuckled at a gag here and there. But this was mostly a dire affair that strands good, funny actors in a lousy movie.
Matt Walsh (the hilarious character actor, not the annoying blogger) takes the lead this time as Dan. He loves his family and the niche he's carved for himself, making hot sauce in the garage. His wife Jeanine (Eva Longoria) is a workaholic. Even when she's not returning emails at 3am, she still buries her face in her iPad. (Yes, you will see more Apple branded devices than at a launch event in Cupertino.)
After Dan's friend (Al Madrigal) dies unexpectedly, he takes it upon himself to live in the moment, doing spontaneous and risky things like adopting a pet skunk. His out-of-character behavior pushes Jeanine to agree to a weekend retreat in a small town with shaky cell reception and no WiFi. Of course this town is populated by weirdoes like a conspiratorial driver (Lea Thompson) and a pushy restaurateur (Keith David). And drones. Lots and lots of drones, in a gag that gets less funny the more it gets repeated. I half-expected the couple to uncover an actual conspiracy, but that would have at least made the film interesting.
Alas, the couple's car dies and they find themselves wandering the woods arguing with each other for a good chunk of the runtime. Unfortunately, there's little substance here either. It also doesn't help that a movie with a similar premise debuted just two years ago (Save Yourselves!) and pulled it off much better.
Instead of recharging your battery with laughter, this movie drains you. You're better off taking a 90-minute walk outdoors.