Directed by Michael Dowse
Starring Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer
Written by Jackie and Jeff Filgo
Definition of ANACHRONISM
One of the fun games you and your friends can play with this movie that takes place around Labor Day of 1988 is all the things that are not supposed to be there. If you are drinking, it can only lighten the mood. If not, you soon realize that you are the main thing that should not be there. The obvious one is “Kickstart My Heart,” a Motley Crue song that came out in 1989. Whatever you do, try not to look at too many of the cars in the film. After a while you will just be sad.
It’s sad to imagine that this film sat on the shelf since 2007. The word is that there was some reservation in the portrayal of youths of the 80’s doing hard drugs in a light way. Uh, right. The bigger question is why this clunker, starring two distinct talents (Grace and Faris) got made into such a piece of junk and, in turn, how that piece of junk ever got off the shelf.
The story, in essence, tries to pass 22 as the new 18. In this way, everyone gets to graduate a second time, and, by some method of torture, go over the same “life decision” story lines one more time. Well, to paraphrase Dennis Miller’s classic line about buying cheap suits on sale at KMart, two of ‘crap’ is ‘crap:’ if they really want to mess with you they’d give you three of these things. And it’s not that they wouldn’t try, as Faris’ character is debating going to graduate school.
So what we get is rehash of the girl who was too good for the protagonist, MIT “graduate” Matt Franklin (Grace), who is just avoiding life by working at Suncoast Video. Having never been an MIT graduate myself, one still finds it hard to buy that graduating from that institution on the eve of the dot-com boom would only qualify you for a job at the mall.
Meanwhile, Barry Nathan (Jack Black imitation Fogler), is a loser, that always has been a loser. He recently lost his job as a car dealer and get’s credit from Franklin’s police officer dad (a wasted Michael Biehn) for giving life a shot. Uh, right. Fogler’s real job is to do stuff that looks crazy (read: stupid) to everyone else in the film, and, by movie’s end, end up with a rebel chick from the party.
As Franklin’s twin sister Wendy, Faris has some of the more unique takes in the story. Her motives are not entirely clear, and in a movie like this, that is a good thing. Doesn’t last long, but I enjoy her early on.
There is really nothing to say about this film, merit wise. It is a mess. There are no story lines that are not laboriously hammered on like a drunkard. In trying to stretch out life’s decision points, it clearly is trying to appeal to those millions of Americans planning on benefiting from Obamacare’s “stay at home with your parent’s through 26” provision. Even with this crowd, it missed.
This is mainly due to the haphazard attempt at throwing ANY songs, clothes and cars from various periods of 80’s and try to pass them off as what was hip at the time. Even someone who wasn’t paying all that much attention to society at the time would know better. Add to this, haphazard camera work and lines that land with a thud.
If only this movie could have stayed on the shelf, I would not have lost some respect for Grace and Faris. As for Folger and director Dowse, well, I didn’t think much of them before, so, they won’t occupy many brain cells now.
(1/2* out of *****)