Not everything in Eternity: The Movie works. However, filmmaker Ian Thorpe shows audiences that clean comedy leads to the best kind of laughs with this lo-fi send-up to the 1980’s.
Barrett Crake plays Todd Lucas, because – I suppose – Jon Heder had a busy schedule. Lucas is new to the Californian lifestyle. Instead of one-night stands with bodacious babes, he wishes to escape the business and get to know a girl by sparking conversations. He’s weepy when someone dumps him, and he’s sensitive to a point where crying doves would roll their eyes.
Myko Olivier plays B.J. Fairchild, because – I suppose – the film couldn’t afford Paul Rudd. Fairchild isn’t rude or crude, but he’s all for free love. When he’s not blaring TV theme songs on his saxophone, he’s trying to score. While the opposite sex doesn’t find him threatening or intimidating, they would rather steer clear of his dorky hormones altogether.
Lucas and Fairchild run into each other while working at a store called B.J. Maxx, and later at the dimly lit bar The Dirty Bird. After a few shots of liquid courage and a stream of conciseness uncovering their love for creating R&B, the two musicians join to form Eternity.
Todd and B.J. are innocent dopes who accidentally walk into frequent innuendos and homoerotic exchanges. Joey Ab-Loutfi’s screenplay and Thorpe’s direction uses their simpleton silliness to advance the humour. When they start divulging in a blatant in-joke involving hooking up with each other, their judgement is clouded by the need to create music. That’s funny, and both Ab-Loutfi and Thorpe are sharp enough to play ball and know when to pull out.
Eternity: The Movie is self-aware of how naïve these characters are. The challenge Thorpe runs into is keeping a straight face during the foolishness. By the end of the film, I was impressed by how successful the filmmaker was. Sure, the film pushes itself too far over the edge at times (most notably during a bubble bath gag that starts out amusing and goes into overkill), but Thorpe’s accomplishment is – at the very least – credible.
I poke at Crake and Olivier for their familiar appearances, but I kid. Both actors understand the silliness, and are able to keep under the directorial reigns. Neither feels the need to showboat or steal the spotlight from the other. Like their characters’ band, Crake and Olivier make a good team.
Eternity: The Movie manages to make us giggle as we endure Todd and B.J.’s goofy shenanigans and unbreakable optimism. The songs are humorously well-crafted as well, with most tunes managing that nice mix between catchy originality and satirizing the cheesiness of Hall and Oats.
Speaking of Jon Heder, the design of Eternity: The Movie is very much in the same ballpark as Napoleon Dynamite. Todd Lucas’ benign attitude and the idea that these two musicians think they’re cool also relates to Jared Hess’ 2004 indie hit. However, Thorpe doesn’t rip-off any previous movies. The presentation while barebones and tawdry has a look of its own while intentionally using dated slide wipes as if the transition is going out of style.
The final third of Eternity: The Movie flies off the rails in a way that suggests Joey Ab-Loutfi was shrugging often when trying to tie up loose ends. Stiff confrontations and blow-ups start to crack that straight face Thorpe was immaculately holding during the first half of Eternity: The Movie, and the flick’s mediocre finish reminds us of how much room for growth the film had.
That said, the audience happily observes that a lot can be accomplished with the right attitudes and elated confidence. The team behind Eternity: The Movie use those traits to find that sweet spot in the material to be able to hit those right notes.