Director: Jordan VanDina
Well, I was way, waaaaaaay too sober while watching this movie. I also hadn't seen the first one. But our Pal Paul worked on this film and I wanted to give it a go.
First - the cast on this thing is bananas. I believe Kaitlin Olson is one of the funniest people in anything, and this movie is not here to disabuse me of that notion. She's good in the first act, and by the third - sublime. Tim Meadows is a favorite in this house. Danny Trejo! Paul Scheer. Nick Swardson. Tony Cavalero AND Patty Guggenheim? (their scenes are hysterical) Karen Maruyama (I don't know who came up with her character, but slow clap).
Anyway - all people I like.
The movie's stars are Eduardo Franco (Stranger Things S4), Dexter Darden (Saved By the Bell), Connie Shi (Law & Order), and Marta Piekarz (Queer as Folk). Young folks! But really able to carry a film.
The movie had two strikes for me out of the gate - but those were on me. 1) Like I say, I was stone cold sober watching the movie, and this is not that movie. 2) I did not see the first installment. Not 100% necessary, but the movie doesn't spend much "getting to know you" time and leaps into "so how are our friends now?"
So - if you've not seen the original - the set-up is not complicated. The Feds decided in 2027 on a total prohibition of all drugs and alcohol, but (like The Purge) one day per year it's no holds barred. That day is called "The Binge". In 2035, they've realized people can't handle Christmas minus a little chemical help, and so The Binge is moved to Christmas, and it's immediately and obviously a bad idea.
One of our heroes is trying to ask for his ladyfriend's hand in marriage, the other goes on a drug-induced journey akin to It's a Wonderful Life. I don't want to give too much away.
Anyway - if you're looking for something to watch that's completely bananas, but not to watch with your parents or kids - it fits the bill. We're well documented here for enjoying movies that end in total chaos, and this is that. But it's also a really funny journey along the way, keeping things moving at a rocket pace - so even if a gag isn't a slam dunk, there's another coming in a few beats.
Like other "@#$% is out of control" comedies like a Harold and Kumar movie, it's a hang-out movie. You like the characters and want to spend time seeing what they're up to. The pitch could fit with a real-time TV show, I guess, but works well for a movie with yearly installments. But the characters - who could be obnoxious and cringey - are really good springboards for a lot of fun stuff, and the talent are likeable. Casting young folks like this against big talents like Olson and Trejo makes for a great mix.
Anyway - you will also notice the audio is AMAZING in this movie. Hire Paul. We need to keep him busy.