Back to basics for Vince Vaughn

04 Oct, 2020 - 00:10 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Tinashe Kusema

Film Review

Almost every comic actor that has dared to try other “serious” genres comes under some sort of fire when they revert to their jesting roots.

Actors that quickly come to mind include Will Smith, Steve Carrell, Eddie Murphy, Monique and Jim Carrey.

I am not really sure why that is the case, but it seems their dalliance with drama, which is usually the preferred choice for these fine thespians, in a way reignites their passion for comedy.

If “Brawl in Cell Block 99” (2017) was the more serious work for Vince Vaughn, then Hulu original “The Binge” (2020) marks his return to comedy.

And boy, the 50-year-old veteran makes quite a splash.

“The Binge” tells the story of an imaginary America, where alcohol and recreational drugs are banned except for 12 hours every year.

It is during these 12 hours that every teenager and carefree adult comes out of the woodwork and indulge in wild partying and excessive drinking.

And during one such instance, childhood friends — Griffin (Skyler Gisondo), Andrew (Eduardo Franco) and Hags (Dexter Darden) — set out to have a whale of a time before they go their separate ways to college.

The goal is to have an epic night, which mostly revolves around drinking and declaring their undying love to their interests.

However, their problem comes in the form of their principal, Carlson (Vaughn), who is father to one of the crushes.

The principal goes on the hunt for his daughter Lena (Grace Van Dien), who has snuck out and gone out to party.

Does the plot sound too familiar?

Well, it is because it has been done way too many times, with the most recent examples being “I love you, Beth Cooper” (2009) and the incredibly charming “Booksmart” (2019).

The movies tackle issues of separation, anxiety and disorder (SAD), which appear to be a big problem in America.

The only difference here, as opposed to the billion times the film industry has recycled this theme, is that it gets mixed up with the sloppy premise, lame jokes and, quite frankly, bad leads.

But Vaughn manages to salvage this tame movie and makes it watchable.

The 50-year-old is at his fast-talking, scene-stealing and comedic best as the overbearing principal who, as it turns out, has a dark secret.

The female leads of the film, namely Lena (Dien) and Sarah (Zainne Saleh), bring nothing to the film except for some periodic appearances.

In short, the film could have been handled better if writer Jordan VanDina had made it a commentary on drug and alcohol abuse by teens in America rather than focus on SAD.

He could have done more in terms of character development and given Vaughn more lines and scenes.

Meanwhile, watch out for an unexpected and unnecessary music number somewhere in the third act.

Aside from it being unexpected, the song is very catchy, and it took three days to get it out of my head.

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