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Jessica Herndon’s “Road Trip Comedy Scores” Says Little With Many Words

In response to Jessica Herndon’s 593‑word review of Nebraska on Associated Press

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Jessica Herndon’s “‘Nebraska’ Review: Alexander Payne’s Road Trip Comedy Scores” is a pleasant enough reading experience but it will leave those looking for an actual critique of the film feeling deflated and unsatisfied.

Herndon doesn’t take long to dive headfirst into plot recap and she takes a long time to emerge from it once she’s fully under the surface.  Road Trip Comedy Scores isn’t so painfully detailed that it borders on novelization, in fact, the paragraphs of summarization are more likely to encourage readers to see the film than to drive them away. The problem is that once that portion of the review is over, the review itself is nearly over.

Very little is said about the film’s internal mechanics and what makes it work. The actors get some nice mentions, but Herndon only provides outlines here. Readers only get to see a shadow rather than a fully formed picture of what to expect.

As for a takeaway, it’s more of a mystery than anything else. If it wasn’t for the positive title to the review, one would finish the review not very confident about how Herndon felt about the movie as a whole. Herndon seems to want her title, read before any of her actual text, to flavor the rest of the review enough to mask the fact that its missing a main ingredient. With so many tastier Nebraska entrees out there, you can afford to skip this one.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation