DVD Review Frenemy
Directed by: Gregory Dark Cast: Matthew Modine, Callum Blue, Adam Baldwin, Lisa Brenner, Zach Galifianakis Running Time: 1 hr 20 mins Rating: R Due Out: December 14, 2010
PLOT: Two men wander around Los Angeles after surviving a bank robbery at a porn store while discussing the possibilities of destiny intervening with their traumatic moment.
WHO'S IT FOR? People who are dedicated to finishing an entire movie, even if it appears that nothing is happening for a large chunk of it (even if the movie is only seventy-six minutes long).
Talk doesn’t have to be cheap. Thousands of films, (especially those by Tarantino, who is idealized here in both conversational topics and soundtrack), can have an audience fully on board just with walking and talking heads discussing anything. From Ingmar Bergman’s three-hour long Scenes From A Marriage to Kevin Smith’s Clerk’s 2, no one has to die for a filmgoer to be strictly on board with a movie. It really comes down to whether we care to listen to the characters or not.
In the case of the cheaply titled Frenemy, we don't at all. Two dull characters played by Modine and Blue stroll around Los Angeles, sometimes being in the middle of odd shenanigans (a deadly hobo fight), while the script confuses their directionless and obnoxious ranting with compelling conversation. Both men have a strangeness to them, but their oddities are not intriguing, they're annoying (especially Modine's accent). Soon into the movie, the discussion between these two weak characters becomes white noise, and a small shock in the third act (more on that later) only reduces that static a little bit. Attributing to the overall dullness of the two main characters is their flat dialogue. One would think that a film that relies on two odd men talking to each other would try to be a little sharp. Instead it’s more like the script is poking the audience with Aron Ralston’s unhelpful thrifty pocket knife, eventually possibly just hoping to keep the audience awake.
The philosophies being kicked around Frenemy like an empty can of Mr. Pibb traveling through the city are overall barren. The movie tries to frame itself around an exploitative talk show, “The Dennis Rivers Show” (a la “Maury”), and fails when the connection between this element and the general plot takes far too long, and also because it’s aggressive about something that’s obvious. It becomes extra weight that exists to add running time to the film, which is already a discouraging (but kind) seventy-six minutes.
Zach Galifianakis has a one-liner that stands as Frenemy’s most memorable moment. While laying on the floor at a chatty robber’s request, he quips, “What is this? ‘My Robbery With Andre’?” This plants a seed in the audience’s mind of how that fake title would be more a better concept than all of Frenemy. At least until one realizes that movie is already called Reservoir Dogs. (Note: Please do not think that this movie is anything like Reservoir Dogs.)
Frenemy has a surprise in the third act, diminutively making your time with the movie not totally worthless. At the same time you don’t care to re-watch it again, and see how the ramblings of this couple could be connected to such shocking behavior.
As for why you may have watched this movie at all, fans of Galifianakis who might be lured in by the DVD cover should know that the rising bearded comedian is only in one scene in the movie. He also doesn’t look nearly as chubby squirrel-like in the final product as he does in the artwork. On a Galifianakis scale of looking homeless, he’s at about an eight, whereas in the dreadful Operation: Endgame he was about a nine point five. Which was, might I add, another straight-to-DVD clunker that gave him a bit more screentime. Here, Galifanakis is about as utilized in the story as Adam Baldwin. A Baldwin!
MOVIE SCORE: 2/10
Trailer Gallery Widescreen Presentation English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio Optional English and Spanish Subtitles