DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

BEST MAN DOWN (director/writer: Ted Koland; cinematographer: Seamus Tierney; editor:  Grant Myers; music:  Mateo Messing; cast: Justin Long (Scott), Jess Weixler (Kristin), Tyler Labine (Lumpy), Addison Timlin (Ramsey Anderson), Shelley Long (Gail), Frances O'Connor (Jaime), Evan Jones (Winston), Michael Landes (Priest), Sasha Andreev (Rick); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Jen Roskind/Sharyn Steele/David Abbitt ; Magnolia Pictures; 2012)

"An indie comedy that seems good enough but never left me feeling I had to see it."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Writer-director Ted Koland directs his maiden film, an indie comedy that seems good enough but never left me feeling I had to see it.

At the Phoenix wedding of Minneapolis couple Kristin (Jess Weixler), a third-grade teacher,  and Scott (Justin Long), a real estate agent, the best man, Scott's best friend from childhood, Lumpy (Tyler Labine), gets stinking drunk and that night the portly amiable dude dies from head wounds from a fall while wandering off alone in the desert. Scott cancels the honeymoon and uses that money to ship the body back to snowy Minneapolis for the funeral. Back in their hometown, Scott finds out things about his best friend he never knew, as for starters he dropped out of law school for personal reasons and got fired from a job for embezzlement and befriended in a small, northern Minnesota town, a 15-year-old girl named Ramsey (Addison Timlin). The newlyweds drive to the far-end of Minnesota to meet Ramsey and begin to learn things about Lumpy they never knew.

Koland wisely relies on the skill sets of his talented young cast to tell his clever but simple story. Problem is the story gets mired in a number of sub-plots and with a number of characters who come and go without being developed. What results is a pleasant comedy/drama that never knocks itself out by going the extra-mile to get a better take on fragile relationships and on the hardship of being raised in a dysfunctional family, without turning lumpy.

REVIEWED ON 9/29/2013       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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