Search Party (2014)
” This is not a vacation. It’s a rescue mission.”
Search Party (2014)
Director: Scot Armstrong
Cast: Krysten Ritter, Alison Brie, Rosa Salazar
Synopsis: A pair of friends embark on a mission to reunite their pal with the woman he was going to marry.
Given that its release came too long after the buzz for The Hangover had subsided for it to benefit from spurious association, it’s probably a little unfair to describe Scot Armstrong’s Search Party as a rip-off of Todd Phillip’s irreverent comedy. Nevertheless, there’s no getting away from the fact that Search Party clearly uses The Hangover (the sequel to which was written by Armstrong) as a springboard from which to launch its own madcap escapades. What is surprising is just how solid some of the movie’s laughs are thanks to a sharp, pacey screenplay and some bright performances from a cast that will probably be more familiar to TV viewers than moviegoers.
The plot sees slacker man-child Jason (T. J. Miller) wrecking the wedding of his friend Nardo (Thomas Middleditch – The Wolf of Wall Street) with his well-meaning but ill-timed reminder of the misgivings about marrying Tracy (Shannon Woodward) that Nardo let slip while stoned on his stag night. Jason’s unfortunate intervention results in a livid Tracy leaving for a honeymoon for one in Mexico, and naturally Nardo follows in the hope of patching things up. Unfortunately, a carjacking leaves him stranded and naked in a small desert town from where he phones best man, Evan (Adam Pally – A.C.O.D.). His call sets in motion a chain of events which will see Evan nearly fall prey to kidney harvesters at a Vegas casino, Nardo pursued by the angry gangsters in whose cocaine he is caked, and Jason finally acquiring a small measure of responsibility.
Search Party is one of those deliberately stupid movies that invite you to check your brain (and critical faculties) in at the opening credits and admire the way it revels in its own absurdity. Not all of the humour works, but it never fails badly enough to leave you wondering why you’re watching. It’s Miller and Pally who share most screen time, and they hit it off together quite well, with Miller proving particularly adept at preventing a character who’s supposed to be annoying to those around him from being equally so to the audience.
(Reviewed 18th November 2015)