(Airplane Mode was viewed and reviewed in its original Portuguese audio, with english subtitles, by a non-Portuguese speaker)
Airplane Mode is worth watching if:
- You’re a Brazilian preteen with nothing better to do.
- You’re trying to learn Portuguese.
- You want to fall asleep.
Airplane Mode is not worth watching if:
- You value your sanity.
- You value your time.
- You hope to learn about Brazilian culture.
- Lead actress is a pleasant girl in pleasant outfits.
- Graphic effects with Portuguese text are replaced with English versions for English viewers.
- ‘Photogram’ makes for a believable fake Instagram.
- Nothing happens the vast majority of the time.
- When stuff does happen, it is annoying. #LOL
- The ending is not satisfying or redeeming.
score: 30% CHILLIN
One sentence story summary: When Ana, an influencer, crashes her car while talking on the phone, she’s shipped to her grumpy grandfather’s farm — and forced into a digital detox.
There are very, very few people who should ever watch this movie. Sure it’s just the second Netflix film to be made in Portuguese, and sure it’s set in Brazil, but we believe most Brazilians would rather jump from an airplane than spend over a minute watching Airplane Mode. (Same goes for the rest of you Netflix watchers.)
The first twenty minutes of the movie introduce us to the cringeworthy depths of social media and smartphone addiction via the young and attractive Ana, a fulltime social media ‘influencer’ for a Brazilian fashion company, who spends her days posting to ‘Photogram’ and following the orders of a stereotypically evil female fashion design boss. It’s not just purposefully irritating to watch, there’s little substance to make it bearable.
When Ana’s phone addiction starts putting others at risk, she is sent on a forced vacation to live with her grandfather in small Brazilian farm town – without phone reception.
Cue fish-out-of-water romantic comedy…
At this point most viewers will be optimistic things are on the up-and-up, that the cringe is behind them, and that the real movie is about to start. Viewers equally addicted to their phones and social media as Ana is might unironically be upset, if they were even paying attention.
Sadly, this is where one of the least interesting and most generic romantic comedies of all-time kicks in. While the acting is competent, they competently do very little.
It’s sort of fun to see all the fashionable hipster outfits Ana (Larissa Manoeala) wears on the farm each day, and sometimes someone says something worthy of a half-chuckle, but when that’s the best Airplane Mode has going for it, you know this is a flight that should have never left the runway.
It’s hard to describe how truly uneventful 70% of Airplane Mode is. While its actors remain likeable, perhaps out of pity at times, the characters aren’t, thanks to the film’s non-existant character development and story arc.
The film tries to salvage its wasted runtime with an eventful last twenty minutes, eventful in comparison to the rest that is, but it’s too late. Airplane Mode flew aimlessly without fuel for far too long and was destined to crash.
For whatever film Netflix decides to make in Portuguese next, we’d recommend they try LTE.