Game Over, Man! Review

 Netflix

Netflix

     Netflix’s new comedy film Game Over, Man! feels like a dream imagined by a stereotypical hypermasculine douchebro in between coffee flavored drags from his vape pen. To him, the dream is epic. To you, the dream is a fever. It isn’t funny. It has no charm. The only time it makes you laugh is moments where its attempt at humor makes you cringe with uncomfortableness.

     The script by Anders Holm follows Alexxx (Adam DeVine), Darren (Holm), and Joel aka Baby Dunc (Blake Anderson): three obnoxious friends and co-workers who are a part of a self-proclaimed group titled “The Dew’d Crew.” They spend their days hating their jobs as cleaners, while dreaming of a day where they can finally create their video game console named Skintendo. When their hotel is invaded by terrorists, the three bros must step into action and kick some ass.

     With Holm’s script none of the lead characters behave with any rational; they feel as though their brains are fueled by a combination of Mountain Dew and corn chips. When The Dew’d Crew are running to safety after discovering the terrorists they collectively take a moment to slide down a staircase rail because, as Alexxx explains, “It’ll be badass.” When The Dew’d Crew gets into an argument they spend roughly 46 seconds (Yes, I counted) shooting bullets near each other until they run out. When The Dew’d Crew kill a terrorist Alexxx proclaims “This is video games 101. You kill bad guys, you take their shit,” Darren whispering “It’s true” in reassurance. The Dew’d Crew lack empathy, and wits, for a majority of the movie and in turn we never care about The Dew’d Crew.

     This lack of empathy bleeds into other areas of the script with many attempts at humor coming across as sexist or homophobic. Early on two terrorists, Rich and Jared, use a homophobic joke and slur when disposing a body, and when Cassie, a female hotel employee, reports The Dew’d Crew for slacking on the job to their boss Mitch, he replies “Boys will be boys.”

     These jokes and many others fall with a resounding a THUD as though attached to 3,000 pound anchors. The movie wants to justify these jokes by eventually castrating Mitch and revealing Rich and Jared are gay, but it can’t help but feel like justifications to use offensive jokes at carte blanche.

     Other aspects make this movie go down like bitter and thick, cherry flavored cough medicine—slow and painful. DeVine, Holm, and Anderson display little chemistry as good friends (Even with seven seasons of Comedy Central’s Workaholics together). DeVine always overpowers Holm and Anderson, with his character’s constant shouting and fragmented line delivery. The others never get a shot at defining their characters with equally aggravating qualities.

    In scene after scene Game Over, Man! wants you to believe that comedies don’t need a solid foundation including a script and characters. Do yourself a favor and unplug it before it begins.

Dawson's Creek - 20th Anniversary Review

 Sony Pictures Television

Sony Pictures Television

     In 2018, the Dawson’s Creek pilot feels like a patchwork quilt of 90s nostalgia. Its satisfying combination of teen drama paired with now throwback songs and charming performances are all sewn together in such a way that it’s easy to see why the show had such an appeal with a youth demographic.

     The 1998 WB pilot centers on Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek), a film obsessed teenager who spends his days working at his town’s video store with his buddy Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), and his nights hanging out with his best friend Josephine “Joey” Potter (Katie Holmes). Just as the three teens are about to start the 10th grade of high school, a mysterious girl named Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) moves in, capturing the attention of Dawson, and prompting the jealousy of Joey. The four must deal with the trials of adolescence all while trying to find themselves in their town of Capeside, Massachusetts.

     A heavy layer of teen drama and angst is spread across the episode reminiscent of other 90s teen television such as My So-Called Life: Does Joey have romantic feelings for Dawson? Does the new English teacher Ms. Jacobs have a thing for Pacey? Will Dawson gather up the courage to ask out Jen? Many of these plotlines have the character’s emotional meters cranked up at a consistent 10 and if you’re older have you feeling like you’re back standing outside your high school locker.

     In one explosive scene, Dawson confronts Joey after she purposely sabotages a movie date he has with Jen. “Where’s a little understanding?” he complains, “Oh, I understand everything! I’m tired of understanding! All I do is understand!” she fires back. While moments such as this could easily come across as over-the-top they always feel earnest seeming to tap into how chaotic and confusing life can be at 15 years old.

     The high school scenes are also bridged with 90s jams including the Chumbawamba hit “Tubthumping.” I mean, how can you not want to stomp your feet when the well-known chorus “I get knocked down, but I get up again” kicks in? The use of pop music assists in creating a tone that’s fun and enjoyable.

     A big part of the enjoyment also stems from the charismatic main cast who use small moments to give their characters large amounts of personality: There’s the hidden mischievous grin of Holmes as Joey, Dawson, Jen, and Pacey head into the movie theater; the straightforward passion Van Der Beek injects into Dawson’s claim “All the answers to life’s questions can be found in a Spielberg film;” the wide eyed bewilderment Jackson brings to Pacey as he attempts to flirt with Ms. Jacobs; a compassionate stroke of the arm Williams has Jen give her sick grandfather; these moments crafted by the cast quickly create endearing characters.

     Much like a patchwork quilt Dawson’s Creek exudes a feeling of warmness thanks to its nicely executed teen drama and likable lead performances. It makes revising adolescence well worth it.