When the love of his life (Shannon Woodward of Raising Hope) jilts Nadro (Middleditch) at the altar thanks to his hard-partying pals Jason (Miller) and Evan (Pally), he follows her down to Mexico – where he’s carjacked and left naked in the middle of nowhere. Reluctantly summoning his friends to help him get back his runaway bride-to-be, Nadro plunges into an escalating series of outrageous misadventures courtesy of the guys who created the mess in the first place. The raucous comedy also stars Alison Brie (Community) and Krysten Ritter (Marvel’s Jessica Jones).
It amazes me how there seems to be a market for anything in the film industry today, whether it's an over the hill action star vehicle, horror schlock, or a derivative drama. Then there's the ‘Road Trip’ rip off category that this movie ever so firmly resides in.
This movie was shelved since 2014 and was released on May 13th of 2016. Normally, when a movie is shelved, that indicates problems, but in this case I actually am convinced it was meant to be shelved and then cashed in when some of the actors in the movie became relevant. There is no other explanation for how nonchalantly this movie goes about its meager 93-minute runtime.
We start off where we always start off in these films, with a group of stoners of course! Evan (Adam Pally), Jason (T.J. Miller), and Nardo (Thomas Middleditch) are three losers sitting in a van talking about Nardo getting married. You see, somehow (by stretching the imagination larger than the Grand Cannon) Nardo has a beautiful fiancé named Tracy (Shannon Woodward). But on the day of the wedding, Jason gets the ingenious idea that Tracy is no good for Nardo (his name is Nardo after all) and stops the wedding while they are at the altar. And believe me, we are far away from when Dustin Hoffman tried this with Mrs. Robinson, folks.
Tracy then storms out of the church and goes on the honeymoon to Mexico that was meant for her and her loser husband. Nardo then goes after Tracy and gets car jacked, robbed, and (so we can have our obligatory male nudity jokes) gets left naked in Mexico. Now, Jason may be an awful friend, but he isn't a monster. So he literally kidnaps Evan and shoves him in a car so they can go to Mexico to find their nude friend. I use these terms lightly, but comedy and hijinks ensue.
There is also an incredibly lazy sub plot with Evan and Alison (slumming it) Brie’s character Elisabeth. They work together and have a lame romantic subplot, but can't act on it because the people in this movie are soooo professional. They are supposed to have a big meeting together, but Evan can't make it after getting dragged to Mexico. This plot is lame, derivative, and done better in every Will Ferrell comedy out there. And that is saying something.
The worst offense this movie makes is not understanding how to make stoner characters still likable. Evan is an idiot for even being friends with these two, Nardo is borderline brain deficient, and Jason…Jason is just a psychopath. You never warm up to any of these characters, nor does the movie seem to care. Even worse, there is a level of chemistry between these actors that dips into the negatives and continues to plummet from there. T.J. Miller and Thomas Middleditch are actually in a comedy show every week called ‘Silicon Valley ‘. How does none of the chemistry they share in that show come across here?
I have been subjected too many comedies that just run their jokes into the ground lately. This film finds a rather kind way tof doing the opposite. It actually cuts many off its jokes off before they are even done. It's like the editor just said “Oh man this isn't working and I have no clue how to go back, just cut it now!” This “film” is a strong, strong not recommended for everything in it, other than an absolutely insane villainous character toward the latter half; though I question if he actually knows that he's as funny as he is.
‘Search Party’ stumbles onto Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC encode framed at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Here is the only competent work done on this Blu-ray, because this transfer isn't half bad. Detail work and sharpness is great here leaving no complaints in that regard. In every scene you can clearly tell the cinematography done here was competently done.
For the most part, white and black levels are what they need to be with the exception of one scene in-particular. There is a scene at night where the lead characters are in a car that is falling down a hill and catches fire. That particular scene is very dark and it’s hard to actually make out what is happening as the car is rolling down the hill. But I admit that is a very small nitpick that never reoccurs.
As much as it seems like I am praising this transfer, I have to remind you that we are talking about a frat boy comedy. This isn't a particularly hard transfer to get right, and there are certainly no amazing looking shots in this movie. But it's competently made and this portion of this disc manages to go unscathed.
‘Search Party’ comes onto Blu-ray with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track that is more or less what you would expect from a frat comedy. As long as you don't expect too much from this (and I don't see why you would expect reference quality audio here), then you won't be disappointed.
Fronts, as you would expect, get the most to do here with most of the atmosphere coming from them. Frat boy music, cars whizzing by on the highway, any of the hijinks that resort to an action scene, are all mainly delegated to the fronts here.
The LFE channel and surrounds aren't really used to the greatest effect here. Anytime an alt rock song is being played, it gets supported with a little bass, as well as the semi action scenes in the movie. But that's about it. The surrounds are used pretty sparingly here also, only kicking in on less than a handful of scenes.
The overall vocals and volume is fine and where it needs to be for this type of film. Look, this transfer is not going to wow anybody, but that's not what you would come to this Blu-ray for anyway. If I could sum this up in one word it would be “serviceable.”
There are no Special Features on this Blu-ray.
I truly believe in critiquing a movie at its own level. This isn't a comedy that tries to make a statement here. But with that being said, there are a whole slew of films in this genre (‘Old School’, ‘Road Trip’) that are far better and more energetic than this one. I don't hate all frat boy raunchy comedies. I actually remember liking the original ‘Van Wilder’ and ‘Eurotrip’, but this is a limp film that never intends to bring anything new to the table. A video transfer that is pretty good and a serviceable audio track can’t save this movie from being one that you can skip for sure.