|SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK|
dir Dan Mazer
scr John Phillips
prd Bill Block, Jason Barrett, Barry Josephson, Michael Simkin
with Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch, Julianne Hough, Jason Mantzoukas, Adam Pally, Dermot Mulroney, Brandon Mychal Smith, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Jake Picking, Michael Hudson
release US 22.Jan.16, UK 25.Jan.16
16/US Lionsgate 1h42
Kings of spring break: Efron and
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
While this comedy strains rather desperately to be crude and even grotesque, it manages to find some hilarious moments while creating characters whose journeys almost mean something. This is definitely not one of the funniest comedies in recent memory, but it will definitely amuse its target audience.
Jason (Efron) is a super-sharp young lawyer following the footsteps of his father (Mulroney). Then a week before he's set to marry the high-maintenance Meredith (Hough), Jason's grandfather Dick (De Niro) insists that he drive him home to Boca Raton following his grandmother's funeral. What Jason doesn't know is that Grandpa is desperate to sow the wild oats he denied himself during his marriage, detouring the journey to Daytona in the middle of Spring Break. There they meet two co-eds (Plaza and Deutch) who are up for pretty much everything.
The script is packed with twists and turns, revelations and bombshells, and yet it's so lazily assembled that nothing is a surprise. Even the rampant drug-fuelled sexual antics, complete with lots of nudity, are fairly predictable. Director Mazer delights in cheap, nasty sight-gags, keeping the tone so corny and slight that the movie has no tension whatsoever. But while everything is played for gross-out value, there's also a creeping sense of engagement with the characters.
Efron is likeable as the tightly wound jerk who will obviously rediscover his lost passion. His interaction with De Niro has a sharp edge, which De Niro nicely exploits even in some deeply yucky moments. If Mazer had developed a blackly comical tone, both of these roles could have been pointed and engaging. As is, they feel simplistic but irresistible. Deutch is fine in the blandly romantic role, while Mantzoukas, Pally and Hough ham it up to make their side characters riotously cartoonish. But it's Plaza who nails all the best lines.
This is the kind of movie that will play best to young audiences who visit the cinema after a night out drinking. For them, it will seem like the funniest thing they've ever seen. Yes, it requires the audience to find it hilarious that Efron has a penis swastika drawn on his forehead. Or that De Niro's 72-year-old character is desperate to have sex with a 19-year-old. Frankly, sober people don't generally find these kinds of things very funny. Or maybe it's that sober people are better at stifling their laughter.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.|
© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK