North is just an unholy mess of a film. Widely regarded as one of the biggest flops and disappointments of the past 30 years or so, it follows North as he searches for new parents. This film is regarded as humorless, racially insensitive, and impossible to follow. In the decade before North, Reiner had given us Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, and A Few Good Men, so it’s easy to see why audiences expected greatness. Instead, Reiner failed to even give them “competency.”
Ron Howard has a few blemishes on his record, but none of his films, not even EdTV, aim so low as The Dilemma. Putting a coasting Vince Vaughn, as well as the insufferable Kevin James, in the starring roles made the project come across more like a parody of a thoughtless film than it did a serious effort by the lauded director. The release of the movie confirmed these assumptions. The movie fell short in every way audiences expected it to.
I will venture to say that The Darjeeling Limited is the best film on this list, but still bad. Elements of the film are competent, bordering on “good,” but the fact is that this film seemed to be predicated on Anderson’s well-worn proclivity towards quirk and little else. We see the same actors, with the same droll tone, pretty much confined to the train. It would be a lot easier to take if we had perhaps seen this as Wes Anderson’s first effort, but as his fifth, it just feels like more of the same.