Film Review: SUNDOWNERS

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SUNDOWNERSIt’s not the destination wedding that matters, but the journey the hapless videographers have trying to capture it.

Director: Pavan Moondi
Writer: Pavan Moondi
Stars: Phil Hanley, Luke Lalonde, Tim Heidecker

Review by Gilbert Seah
 
SUNDOWNERS follows two young males Alex Hopper (Phil Hanley) and Justin Brown (Luke Lalonde) as they travel to a Mexican resort as videographers to shoot a wedding.

It is a case of everything that could possibly go wrong does, and in the worse possible way. Their trip is already doomed from the start when their boss gives them the incorrect flight information This is followed by incorrect hotel information. It does not help that Justin is recruited as Alex’s photographer and really knows nothing about the camera. When they finally meet members of the wedding family, they find more trouble afoot. The bridegroom has just lost his job and gone bankrupt, with the bride, who appears to be all over him, unaware f the situation. They meet the best man, who is of questionably character though appearing friendly enough. The father urns out gay and hits upon Alex. All the high jinx sounds ripe for crazy and laugh-out loud humour but surprisingly the film is only mildly funny.

For a film with a cast of stand-ups, the laughs are surprisingly few and far between. The film plays like an uncomfortable comedy where the comedy is supposed to come from the misfortunes of the lead characters. A similar example is THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS where a couple lands in New York City and everything goes wrong. Incident after incident work against the couple but as the audience wants the couple to do well, it is hard to laugh at the mishaps. The same goes for the two landing in Mexico where one thing after another do not go as planned.

If one observes the dialogue at many points in the movie, many of the lines can be put together in a stand-up comedy routine. But somehow put in the situation of the film’s plot, they do not come across as funny at all. This is surprising considering that many of the cast and director are real life standup comics. They should be aware of how critical timing is. An example is the horror comedy GET OUT by a director who is a stand up comic. GET OUT was unexpectedly funny, primarily out of timing and camera set ups.

The film benefits from the two lead actors Luke Lalonde and Phil Hanley. They are spirited, good looking, likeable and emit good chemistry. They appear to be people fun to be with which means audiences feel comfortable with their characters.

The film is set in Mexico. The film’s hotel setting looks like any one of the all-inclusive resorts that I have visited in Mexico. But the credits indicate the film being shot in Columbia.

Moondi gives the impression that he is out to get cheap laughs at every opportunity. An example is evident in the scene where the couple rides a cab and the camera focus on a row of bobbing dog heads laid out on the dashboard. Another has them sitting on the steps of a hotel waiting fro a cab when Mexicans walk behind them laughing as if the stand ups are provided by laughter to get the humour going.

SUNDOWNERS should and could have been funnier!

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