'Flock of Dudes': Film Review

Too much talent for this few laughs.
9/30/2016

Chris D'Elia is a floundering would-be writer who must leave his bros behind to grow up.

One of those not-rare-enough limp comedies that leaves viewers wondering who managed to round up so much underexploited talent, Bob Castrone's Flock of Dudes revolves around a crew of best-friend underachievers so bad for each other they have to break up in order to get their lives started. Chris D'Elia stars, but when this pic makes its swift transit from theaters to digital services, it will be supporting players — from Marc Maron to New Girl's Hannah Simone — who earn the most clicks from soon-to-be-disappointed couch potatoes.

Viewers who keep up with contemporary comedy will be puzzled from the start, as Castrone gathers some of the weirder talents out there — like Eric Andre and Brett Gelman — only to have them play generically stupid bros who can "whooo!" with the worst of them. (Both have done this kind of thing ironically before; but if there was any meta-boorishness in these performances, it was edited out.) Three of these dudes live with D'Elia's Adam in a house you can smell from the tenth row, taunting their more grown-up buddies about getting married or holding straight jobs.

In a drunken moment of clarity, having lost one girlfriend and realizing he has no chance with the co-worker (Simone's Beth) he dreams of, Adam declares that he's done with his buds. In the haze of the next morning's hangover, his straight-arrow kid brother David (Skylar Astin) makes it formal: He has drawn up contracts spelling out the dire consequences the men will face (oh my god, don't take away our fantasy football league!) if they make contact with each other during the next six months.

They do, of course, and the movie milks about as much comic tension out of their contract violations as this sentence does. On the one hand, going their separate ways means the more charismatic core castmembers can exhibit a little bit of personality. Unfortunately, they're all stuck in the margins while D'Elia tries to turn his character, who has more difficulty finding himself than they do, into a hero worth rooting for. Meanwhile, comedians Kumail Nanjiani and Hannibal Buress are so wasted that their presence feels like a taunt to their many fans.

 

Production company: Kilburn Media

Distributor: Starz

Cast: Chris D'Elia, Hannah Simone, Skylar Astin, Bryan Greenberg, Brett Gelman, Eric Andre

Director: Bob Castrone

Screenwriters: Bob Castrone, Brian Levin, Jason Zumwalt

Producers: Aaron Kaufman, Brian Levin, Mark C. Manuel, Ted O'Neal

Executive producers: Yoram Barzilai, Erin Fredman, Adam Herz, Gregory Lessans, Itay Reiss, Josh Shader

Director of photography: Yaron Levy

Production designer: Joshua Stricklin

Costume designer: Paula Tabalipa

Editors: Lawrence Jordan, Alastair Orr

Composer: Jonathan Zalben

Casting director: Emily Bates

100 minutes

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