Dave White
Bellflower Review

Dave's Rating:

3.5

The Unbearable Dudeness of Being

Who's In It: Evan Glodell, Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wiseman, Rebekah Brandes, Vincent Grashaw

The Basics: Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are two Southern California gearheads--sorry, "dudes," or, to quote the script itself, "sweet-ass dudes"--with no visible means of support. They spend their time hanging out, customizing automobiles that squirt whiskey from the dashboard or shoot fire from their tailpipes. They also invest energy into constructing a monster-sized flamethrower for the coming Mad Max-like apocalypse because, you know, gotta be ready and all. Into Woodrow's life barges ladydude Milly (Jessie Wiseman). He challenges her to a bug-eating contest and then falls for her so quickly and obsessively that their first date involves a road trip to Texas and a fistfight with one of the locals. Their budding courtship also finds Milly casually warning him that she'll eventually hurt him. She must have forgotten the part about that flamethrower he's building.

What's The Deal: With multiplexes already regularly booked with shallow comedies and action-adventures about men reacting blindly to their own masculinity anxieties, written and directed by people who refuse to acknowledge what's really going on in the films themselves, it's like a kick in the gut when a movie comes along that knows its characters well enough to show you the violent real-life potential of Male-Pattern Panic Disorder. These guys aren't stupid, just stunted (Glodell's character, especially, does as much whimpering, wailing and stress-vomiting as he does lashing out) and their typical obsessions with muscle cars, guns and dominating women are just boxes to store their chaotic, confused worldviews. The movie peels back the damage and lays it out in a way that's as fractured and sad as the mess its characters make, like a Judd Apatow dramedy with skull-cracking baseball bat beatdowns.

A Dirtbag Orson Welles: Writer-Director-Producer-Editor-Co-Star Evan Glodell shot it for $17,000, spent half his budget on the film's brutal muscle-car/avatar, then customized his own cameras to make it all look as beautifully down-scale and grimy, sun-baked ugly, brick-red bloody and occasionally even intentionally out of focus as it is. It's impossible to know what he'll do next, but hopefully he won't lose his attachment to making personal, control-freaky movies when some studio offers him a big-budget project.

Unwise Drinking Game: If you take one every time the words "dude," "sweet," "awesome" and "'sup" are uttered, you won't even remember how it ends. Maybe play it with ice cream instead. All you'll have then is a stomach ache.

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