Like Idiocracy, Don’t Look Up will be reassessed by critics in the coming years (if we survive that long). The reason some feel it’s so unfunny is that the satire is not about “them” it’s about “us,” and it hits way too close to reality for comfort. And yes, there are so many targets skewered it’s overwhelming. But dammit, look at real-life the last few years and tell me we aren’t overwhelmed with a fatal pandemic of WTF.
I do have one gripe, though. The editing is atrocious. The entire film is edited like a Marvel flick’s battle finale. Some of the ending sequence, showing everyday life freeze-framing right before it all blows up, was cribbed straight from Fail-Safe. It works because it worked so well in that earlier film.
The callouts to Dr. Strangelove are obvious. Less obvious is that Don’t Look Up plays like a send-up of another deeply flawed end-of-the-world movie, Deep Impact.
Don’t Look Up is a success in that so many people are talking about it. That tells me that critics will take a different view with time. Ultimately, it’ll be judged more on its meaning and its cultural flashpoint than on the mechanics of how the writers and producers brought it off.