Friday, November 8, 2013

Movie with Abe: Best Man Down

Best Man Down
Directed by Ted Koland
Released November 8, 2013

Wedding movies come in all shapes and sizes. Some are comedies, and others are dramas, some with happy endings and others with devastating finales. On the lighter side, there are films with Julia Roberts like “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Runaway Bride,” and on the heavier side, serious projects like “Rachel Getting Married” or “Melancholia.” A film with a title like “Best Man Down” seems like it would be a comedy, especially considering it stars Justin Long and eternal comic relief Tyler Labine. That’s not the case, however, and instead “Best Man Down” is a weird hybrid that doesn’t know exactly what it wants to be.

As Scott (Long) and Kristin (Jess Weixler) prepare to get married, Scott’s best man Lumpy (Labine) is the life of the party, drawing plenty of attention away from the rest of the wedding with his distracting and highly irresponsible behavior. Labine seems perfect for this role, after stealing scenes in a supporting role on ABC’s “Invasion” and then appearing on short-lived shows much more appropriate for his talents, “Reaper” and “Sons of Tucson.” Labine’s guaranteed demise isn’t terribly fulfilling, and once the best man is down, the film takes a turn for the depressing as Scott and Kristin postpone their honeymoon to track down Ramsey (Addison Timlin), a friend of Lumpy’s whose home situation is far from satisfactory.

“Best Man Down” suffers from a sincere lack of focus and direction, as its two lackluster protagonists begin a search for a character whose connection to Ramsey isn’t initially clear. Ramsey has an unsupportive, absent mother (Frances O’Connor) and a dangerous stepfather figure (Evan Jones), and, prior to his death, Lumpy was the only thing in her life keeping her spirits up. Scott and Kristin, however, aren’t all that much better, since they do not resemble a couple ready to spend the rest of their lives together. Once Scott prioritizes his late friend over their honeymoon, things only got worse, and there seems to be no silver lining in sight.

Long, who is entertaining in the Mac/PC commercials and has been great in film like “Accepted,” and Weixler, who currently stars as eccentric investigator Robin on “The Good Wife,” should be a great pair together. But here they have absolutely no chemistry, and it’s impossible to connect with either of their characters as individuals and as a couple. Labine, committed as he may be, also doesn’t offer too much, and it’s hard to tell whether his character is supposed to be truly funny. The young Timlin is the film’s strongest player, but her role is underdeveloped. This concept might have worked with better writing and a more productive and positive plot.


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