Based on a timeless fantasy, “The Brass Teapot” is a fairy tale for adults with mature con- sequences and morals to boot. Playing upon themes of greed, waning values and materialism, first-time director Ramaa Mos- ley introduces a film that not only entertains but also relates to the harsh realities faced by countless young Americans.
Set in an ideal Midwest community, the film follows the day-to-day struggles of young newlyweds John (Michael Angarano) and Alice (Juno Temple). Educated but professionally unsuccessful, they struggle to get by with the small amount of money that they have saved.
Though John and Alice never realize their potential outside of the security of a full-time job, they quickly abandon the status quo when Alice discovers a decorative teapot inside an antique shop. She then steals the teapot, hoping to put it to good use. John does not exactly approve of the idea, unti l they both learn that their new antique dispenses money whenever they experience pain.
Extreme and dark antics en- sue as John and Alice resort to extremes to get out of debt and live the glamorous lifestyle they desire. Though the teapot seems to be the couple’s way out of destitution, reality sets in as their family and friends begin to notice their sudden touch of wealth.
The film delivers its core message as John and Alice attempt to balance their new lifestyle. Mosley portrays the couple’s turbulent efforts to maintain extravagance in creative and often crude ways. Ultimately, Mosley succeeds in highlighting our current generation’s repulsive yearning for excess and material happiness.
Regardless of Mosley’s often unappealing portrait of the young couple, the takeaway moral of the film only becomes apparent because of their faults. The director does not feature any character with flawless qualities or completely ethical motivations. And while John and Alice might not be the shining examples of morality in our society, their characters are relatable. Their eccentric handling of a serious and omnipresent issue is entertaining, and it is difficult not to crack up at their attempts toward achieving their desires.
The supporting characters, played by Alia Shawkat and Bobby Moynihan, are perhaps the only ethical characters, as their understated performances show- case the unseen morality inherent in all people.
Although “The Brass Teapot” deals with heavy topics, it handles them with quirky grace and comedy. Angarano and Temple are especially impres- sive in their roles, and the supporting cast is equally notable. Mosley presents a film that not only charms the audience on a comedic level but on a personal one as well.
Nora Blake is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]