After the heartbreaking Season 5 finale of Game of Thrones, I was happy to learn that Kit Harington (aka Jon Snow) was going to star in 7 Days in Hell, a TV movie produced by HBO Sports. What got me interested in seeing it was that it was a comedy starring no less than SNL alum and Brooklyn Nine Nine’s lead joker Andy Samberg. All things considered, its a promising premise in itself.
7 Days in Hell revolves around a fictional week-long Wimbledon game between tennis bad boy Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg), adopted brother of Venus and Serena Williams who returns to the court after a failed bid in the Wimbledon 1996 finals, and Charles Poole (Kit Harington), a dimwitted tennis prodigy who is pressured into winning by his overbearing mother and the Queen of England. The film is made up of fake interviews and fake backstories about the two contenders in the sport’s longest game in history.
I had expected the film to be funny when I watched the trailer but I didn’t expect to laugh out loud as much as I did upon seeing it. While Andy Samberg is an expert in physical comedy, Kit’s subdued portrayal perfectly complemented Andy’s over the top style. But while the film was centered on their legendary match, surprisingly, they had limited interactions, and almost none outside the courts, which was a shame because it would have been nice to watch.
What I liked best about the presentation was that the film was trying to actually tone down the comedy and used an approach much like a documentary. The effectiveness of the comedy lied with the audiences’ knowledge that the interviewees were all spouting a bunch of balderdash. Kudos to director Murray Miller and screenwriter Jake Szymanski for their excellent work in making the ridiculous so entertaining.
I must also commend Serena Williams and David Copperfield for keeping a straight face when they were talking about Aaron Williams and his antics, even when it was bordering on the absurd (which was 90 percent of their script). Award winning actor Michael Sheen also committed to portraying the lecherous sports show host Caspian Wint, which was totally cool. Comedians Lena Dunham, Fred Armisen and Will Forte, also nailed their portrayal as resource persons in the documentary to no great surprise.
All in all, 7 Days in Hell was ridiculous through and through. It had no objective except for keeping the audience entertained with mindless comedy. It was garish, it was loud, it was over the top and totally unlike HBO. But that’s what made it so unique and so effective. It may not be for everyone but I definitely give it my seal of approval.