By: Addison Wylie
The suspiciously released comedy Best Night Ever could easily be retitled Wedding Movie. Or, Hangover Movie or Bridesmaids Movie to be a bit more on the nose.
The reason why the film doesn’t go by those titles is because (A.) those suggestions are terrible and (B.) the directorial duo are most likely trying to distance themselves away from schlocky spoof movies. That duo: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.
Friedberg and Seltzer need no introduction, but scrolling through their filmography allows me time to stall from talking about Best Night Ever.
The filmmakers are responsible for the onslaught of spoof movies that rifled into theatres over the past decade, reigned the number one spot at the US box office for the opening weekend, and then darted onto DVD. Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Disaster Movie have made themselves comfortable on multiple end-of-the-year “worst of” lists, and their ineptness has tainted the word ‘spoof’.
Lately, they’ve dropped the ‘Movie’ from their titles. Either to mix matters up, or to fool movie goers. Whatever the reason was, their Twilight spoof Vampires Suck weaselled its way to number one, even shutting out the highly anticipated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Best Night Ever has the couple writing and directing a send-up to recent comedy blockbusters revolving around weddings and wild bachelor/bachelorette parties. Instead of lifting scenes straight out of other movies or using impressionists from graduating classes of MADtv, Friedberg and Seltzer have made a carbon copy of all those hits without calling on direct references. It’d be like if College or The Virginity Hit were treated as take-offs of Superbad. Cheeky move, but Best Night Ever doesn’t comply.
In order to get away with this sort of parody, there would still have to be originality in tact. The characters, while cliché-ridden, would still have to be interesting without the tropes. Situations would still have to be clever out of context. The cheap gags could stay, but there has to be something more attached to them. And, this found footage approach to the adventure would need some sense of continuity.
It’s a type of filmmaking that takes a form of intelligence accompanied with the absurdity. The ultimate problem: Friedberg and Seltzer are two of the most witless filmmakers to make movies. Best Night Ever is definitive proof that the filmmakers are clueless to the fundamentals of comedy. Comedy is a foreign language to these guys, and they’re still trying to solve a puzzle everyone else has figured out.
It’s a film without punchlines or direction. Friedberg, Seltzer, and the cast of bold unknowns throw everything at the screen in hopes something will stick, or their happy-go-lucky attitudes will make us smile. But, when the laughs are this cynically conjured using a horribly broken strategy, all the audience receives is unnerving nonsense.
Above all, the worst thing about Best Night Ever is the uncovered misogyny of the whole enchilada. If InAPPropriate Comedy served as a vessel into Vince Offer’s racially conflicted headspace, Best Night Ever is an appalling view at how the filmmakers see women.
There’s always been fishiness to how Friedberg and Seltzer portray female characters. Here, it’s just plain gross. It’s as if these characters are nothing more than punching bags with boobs who shriek whenever something happens.
Individual leads are set on fire and beaten up – all played for laughs. All four friends are held at gunpoint, humiliated, robbed, thrown out of an ambulance, and show signs of cuts and scrapes whenever they’ve been through the ringer. While these instances are supposed to be played to a comical effect, it rather comes off as the filmmakers mistaking bullying for physical comedy and then lingering on it.
I’m going to ruin one of the jokes to get my point across. In search of money to escape Las Vegas, one of the girls volunteers to wrestle in gelatine. The fight is set-up, but then the camera ‘s transmission cuts out. We’re transported into that previously mentioned ambulance, while the girlfriend lays down on a gurney wearing a neck brace, while spitting blood all over herself. Hilarious, right?
Best Night Ever is, well, one of the worst comedies ever.