My esteemed colleague Corban Goble thinks 7 Days In Hell was bad. Corban is right about many things — John Wick, for instance — he’s wrong about his sports mockumentaries. 7 Days In Hell, an HBO farce about an epic weeklong tennis match, was no Citizen Kane, but it succeeded at the three main things a ridiculous comedy should: It got me laughing; its cameos were on-point; and at a lean 43 minutes, it didn’t overstay its welcome.
Was it thought-provoking, to be studied in film courses for years to come? Signs point to no. If you’re familiar with Andy Samberg’s work, you know what kind of tone you’re in for. 7 Days In Hell was reminiscent of both the underrated Will Ferrell sports comedy Blades of Glory and the hilarious vampire mockumentary What We Do In Shadows. It overflowed with randomly specific references — an apropos-of-nothing homage to The Blair Witch Project stood out — and bizarre tangents, including one on courtroom sketch artists.
Also, the cameos worked. Serena Williams treating her segments like a real interview lent a strangely authentic tone. (Grainy home video footage and sports-doc style cuts helped too.) David Copperfield was also an unexpected delight, poking fun at his own persona. So, Lena Dunham’s sputtered like some toss-off from the last 10 minutes of Saturday Night Live. And a spookily bald-faced Kit Harington has the natural comedy chops of a white walker. At least in the Blair Witch spoof and in Seth Meyer’s Jon Snow dinner party sketch, he proves himself as a straight man.
7 Days in Hell was brisk. It was absurd. I laughed. Ignore the haters. Serena knows how to pick her shots.