Monday, August 3, 2009

Movie Review: Spring Breakdown

Requester: ALR

I have a lot of dreams. I dream that I’ll be the CEO of the American Cancer Society. I dream that I’ll work hard enough to be a concert violist. I dream that Parker Posey, Amy Poehler, and Rachel Dratch will make a movie together. So far, only one of those dreams has come true and so far, I’ve learned that some dreams are best left to the imagination.

Spring Breakdown is a straight-to-DVD release starring the aforementioned Posey, Poehler, and Dratch. Although a combination like this looks like it means comic genius, in actuality the film played out more like Baby Mama: A very promising cast, a few really good laughs, but overall it was a letdown. In fact, I think this is the least funny that Parker Posey has even been. As my friend pointed out, Scream 3 was a much better performance and that movie wasn’t even a comedy. Anyway, Spring Breakdown is the story of three friends, who were losers in college, and their attempt to gain some sort of popularity while protecting a senator’s daughter from making a spectacle of herself and her mother. Don’t think too hard about it.

Let’s begin with what I liked: Amy Poehler. Although her performance here might have devolved into Amber from Saturday Night Live, her uncanny ability to deliver both deadpan lines and over-the-top dialogue made her the most entertaining part of this film. She plays Gayle, a formerly overweight dog trainer who loves dogs because they “love your insides and not your outsides.” During spring break, she gets caught up in a popular clique and ends up dressing like a hooker with cornrows. Rachel Dratch also had some good moments as Judi, a woman formerly engaged to a gay man (played by a surprisingly unamusing Seth Meyers). She excels at getting laughs when she hits the party scene, but quickly becomes a caricature when she obsessed over a chiseled college boy.

To Posey’s credit, I don’t think that she was purposefully unfunny. Rather, I think her character and most of the script were what bogged her down. Even when her character is salsa wrestling and entering wet t-shirt contests, the scenes somehow were devoid of anything more than crude slapstick.

As for the script, it contains several funny lines and moments, but the overall story and comedic tone of the movie fall flat. I found most of the plotlines conventional and predictable. Additionally, there were some jokes at the expense of eating disorders that I found a bit tasteless. Perhaps that comes from my experience as an RA, but to characterize popular girls as bulimic for the sake of demonizing them seemed tacky on the part of the writers. If they wanted to make that an issue, they could have handled it more deftly.

Overall, I was entertained throughout. More so when Poehler was onscreen. However, the movie could have been brilliant and it definitely did not reach its potential. Considering the Dragon Ball movie got a sequel, here’s to hoping that a Spring Breakdown 2 will give us more Poehler and a better Posey. That would be a dream.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

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