The Boy Who Smells Like Fish (Treading Water) – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

A love story made a bit too overcomplicated by a mother’s possible obsession and a boy who reeks of fish.

Review (with Spoilers) – Below

Characters & Story

Mica (Douglas Smith) has been plagued with smelling like a fish since he was born. Though, to make things worse, it has pretty much ostracized him from most of his peers and could be considered one of the reasons why his father Richard (Don McKellar), left his mother Sophie (Ariadna Gil). However, despite Mica becoming self-conscious to the point of dropping out of school, and only going outside to shop or swim, he finds himself a girl who likes him despite his smell. Said girl being Laura (Zoe Kravitz) who plays Mica’s love interest.

Praise

Being that I am a fan of Kravitz, I will admit possible bias in liking her in this film, especially when paired up with Smith. If just because not only are they the silver lining to this movie, but they just seem so cute together. And when I say cute, I mean cute like Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith. As in they have the type of relationship which makes you swoon because of how cute it is, and get a little envious.

Criticism

Their relationship aside, though, I must admit I can’t find much else to praise in this film. If only because the fish smell thing is but a plot device for Mica and Laura to get together; Mica’s parents not being that interesting, and what happens to, and with them, being rather weird and random, and then Mica’s life just being so dull that you have no reason to care about him as a person.

Which perhaps leads to the biggest issue of the film: the characters seem underdeveloped. Take Laura for example, from the get go she seems interesting since she is the only one not being mean to Mica, she is being raised by her grandma, and seems to disappear from his life for at least 10+ years and then suddenly returns without bringing up why she stopped being friends with him. Then, when it comes to Mica and his family, there is so much not explained in terms of his parent’s relationship, how his mom started working at the Guillermo Baribai’s (Gonzalo Vega) museum [1], why his dad acts the way he does, and more.

Overall: TV Viewing

The sole thing keeping this from being something to skip is the relationship between Mica and Laura. Outside of that, I’d argue there isn’t much to attract a person to this movie. The fish smelling gimmick doesn’t lead to comedic moments, or Smith getting to put on a good performance dealing with Mica’s insecurity; living in a museum also doesn’t lead to comedic moments, or is really explained that much; and overall I just feel that there are so missed opportunities for the character to engage the audience with their backstories. Leading to a TV Viewing label for the relationship helps save the film from just being good napping material.

Things To Note

[1] The mom was Guillermo’s assistant, which is part of the reason she has the caretaker job, but it seems like there should be more to her story than that.

 

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?