Monday, October 4, 2010

Movie with Abe: Douchebag

Directed by Drake Doremus
Released October 1, 2010

Talking titles, “Douchebag” doesn’t exactly recommend the character of its protagonist. From the first sight of Sam Nussbaum, fiancé of the beautiful Steph, it’s apparent that he has a big, unkempt beard, and that he strongly desires to be healthy and environmentally conscious. When Steph asks about Sam’s brother Tom and even goes so far as to have Sam call him to invite him to their wedding, Sam simply alludes to a falling out between them based on a shared pet. It’s only when Steph actually goes to pick Tom up and bring him home for the wedding that Sam’s true nature begins to become apparent.

Sam is someone who looks like a slob but talks like an intellectual (and a rather pompous one at that). He flirts with waitresses and even gets their numbers, attributing his actions to a proclivity which he’s already confessed to Steph when his brother becomes concerned. He explains that he is a vegetarian yet still takes a hearty bite into an extremely overstuffed hamburger, dryly asking his brother, “Haven’t you ever seen a vegetarian eat a hamburger before?” He quickly becomes preoccupied with his brother’s search for a long-lost love and jumps at the chance to take a lengthy road trip on the eve of his own wedding rather than get fitted for his tuxedo or help his fiancée with the wedding plans.

Sam is a character that initially seems harmless and gradually reveals just how much of a douchebag he really is. It’s through the character of Tom, his brother, that “Douchebag” establishes a moral center and a focal point for the logical, the reasonable, and the right. What’s exceptional about the way “Douchebag” follows its characters is that it narrows in on their lives with close camerawork and a script that feels improvised to just the right degree. “Douchebag” is full of comedy, most of it subtle and dialogue-based, as Sam’s actions become all the more despicable and Tom grapples with how to respond to his behavior. Andrew Dickler and Ben York Jones play off each other very well, crafting a believable brotherly dynamic, still just as childish when they are adults as they likely were when they were young. The lovely Marguerite Moreau is excellent as always as the unsuspecting and utterly joy-filled Steph, and this tiny ensemble is aided by the considerable contributions of Nicole Vicius, who plays a roller rink employee who just may be Tom’s childhood love. “Douchebag” is a very small independent film that makes the most of what it has and comes out the other end with a surprisingly endearing and funny story.


No comments: