If it's crap ... We'll tell you
An incredibly ambitious party movie that attempts to lay all other party movies to rest with the aid of weed, acid, ecstasy, alcohol, topless girls, adrenaline and high octane fuel that does anything but burn out? Yes, it's true. This is the movie to end all party movies and all parties period! It doesn't slow down, it doesn't let you up, and it's the culmination of the teenage life of all the kids who are now growing up with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Fight Club, Jersey Shore, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen and everything in between. Todd Phillips and his team have finally given birth to the ultimate meta-party with the addition of steroids and PCP! A teenager's wet dream and a parent's worst nightmare come true.
Some might think that this film is complete and utter madness based on that description but that's the beauty of it. All too often, comedies try to play safe in order to appeal to a certain demographic and thus lose the potential it has to be memorable. There are exceptions of course but lately filmmakers like Todd Phillips and the alumni of Judd Apatow have been continually pushing the boundaries of what makes great comedy that really sets out to do something and does exactly that. Granted there have been huge missteps along the way for both of them but at least they have ambition and drive and when they hit, they hit big. This is what makes this film so great (in an unconventional way). The critics are usually pretty consistent in determining whether a film will last or be remembered 30 years from now but this film could be another anomaly. Will it be as much an anomaly as The Shawshank Redemption? Hell, no. But it will be recognized over time as that crazy teen film that became the representation of every teen's wild fantasy. It will be an anomaly in the same way that Animal House, Porky's, or American Pie were at their time.
As far as the story goes, it's pretty simple and superfluous. Three teenage guys who are best friends and aren't the coolest kids at school (by any stretch of the imagination) try to become overnight successes by being responsible for the most memorable party ever. Sure there is the additional question of who they will hook up with during the event but aside from that, the story isn't the point of this film. It's a found-footage film about the ultimate party that is forced to OD on itself and on that level, this film is an undisputed masterpiece. Anything and everything that you could think of when it comes to a party getting out of control happens and then a whole lot more. If the film was anything but a found-footage style film, it would truly be a terrible and unforgivably wretched piece of filmmaking that should never have been seen by anyone. By making this a found-footage film, it's allowed the permission to be anything that it wants to be. It is the ultimate style of storytelling that allows a relatively grounded world to go completely bonkers without ever having to worry about the elastic band snapping and thus ripping the audience right out of the experience. In fact, it's only when the elastic band is about to snap that the audience is truly launched into the experience. It provides the pinnacle of escapist entertainment.
To really tell anyone about the pure mayhem that goes down in this film would be considered sacrilege because the film wants to surprise you by how far it is willing to go to give you your greatest party fantasy and thankfully it's not mayhem for the sake of mayhem. In the context of the actual film, every bad thing that happens (no matter how preposterous in comparison to our world) actually makes sense and it is clearly visible as to why this party gets out of control so quickly and dangerously. In any other film, the climax would have horrified absolutely everybody since it gets to a point where people should be dying in the most awful ways imaginable. Yet the film works by informing a good percentage of the viewers that it's a true Bizarro world where the most vile teenage behaviour goes relatively unpunished in comparison to our world while the other percent are so taken in by the chaos that they get swept up in it. But as much as the film is so much of a fun fantasy for the ids of North American youth, it is a potentially venomous substance for the lowest common denominator to consume and its a real shame because they would enjoy this film the most. Maybe if the filmmakers had somehow gotten permission from Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer at Warner Bros. to use the Bane chant to add to the atmospheric mood of the film, they would have given a clue to the lowest common denominator that this should never be tried and that it is just there for them to dream about. It would've been entirely appropriate to add to "The Fire Rises" campaign as well but then again, some wishes are better left to the imagination.
Nevertheless, this film delivers on everything that your id could possibly desire. Sex, drugs, alcohol, carnage, hard naked bodies, rock 'n roll, hardcore rap, flame throwers, sticking it to the man, and all for the cost of $10 or so with no fair or unfair judgement and no consequence. For the mere price of $10 a ticket or $30-$40 a DVD/Blu-ray, this film is a drug worth consuming over and over again. Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Alexis Knapp, Dax Flame and the rest of the cast did exactly what they were supposed to do and just made the movie a hell of a lot of fun to watch and co-screenwriter Michael Bacall has proved once again (along with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 21 Jump Street) that he knows how to write movies for the kids growing up today by giving us escapist fantasy fun to compensate for the incredibly dark and complex world that we struggle to understand and come to terms with every day. If you're a parent, watch this movie and come prepared. If you're just a kid looking for some fun like myself, this movie is for us. Just know that this kind of experience is only happening in the movies so treasure it where you can.
Rating: High Full Price!!