What Happened Last Night is a frat party comedy made by people who barely understand fraternities, have never been to a party, and have a long-winded definition of comedy.
As the title suggests, the film traces back over a night of partying after a couple of strangers wake up next to each other. We learn that the woman, Sarah (Alix Kermes) and the man, Danny (Clayton Snyder) are both reeling from different romantic break-ups, and they each came to the titular party to move forward and meet new people.
After 40-minutes of Sarah being coaxed by girlfriends to “let her hair down” and Danny having “guy talk” with fellow frat brothers (including Big Brother runner-up Cody Calafiore who certainly has more charisma than Snyder), the story finally ends up at the exclusive party which resembles a high school house party that changes scenery more often than the hotel in The Shining (some rooms have dated living room decor, other rooms resemble a locker room). Sarah flirts, Danny drinks, model Amber Rose cameos as a tease who plays a mean game of beer pong, and a slew of unsubtle background actors try and mix into the crowd without accidentally looking into the camera.
Speaking of extras, the lack of party knowledge is particularly strange considering director/writer Candice Cain has done background acting for Todd Phillips’ Old School and Jason Moore’s Sisters, two funny films that should’ve acted as loose blueprints for the inexperienced filmmaker. What Happened Last Night comes across as a rushed production – the set dressing held together by duct tape is literally the writing on the wall. The film is in such need of alternate angles and line readings, editor Carl Coughlin must’ve served long nights trying to make everything connect. The film is also missing a fresh pace and identity. Cain would’ve hit an energetic stride if her movie took shape as a rebellious, snappy rom-com. Instead, the film is stripped of such opportunities due to padded-out exposition and prolonged scenery chewing during drunken confrontations, dance breaks, and intentionally cheesy pick-up lines.
My guess is that Candice Cain was aiming to make a comedy within the same vein of free-flowing party flicks like Dazed and Confused with the raunchiness of an American Pie DTV sequel. Instead, she’s produced an outrageously weird movie that is so out of touch with itself, it sends the audience into baffled stammers.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie