New Meetup: Douche Bag@ The NUART Theatre 7:15 PM October 14

From: Philip
Sent on: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 5:31 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Los Angeles Film Enthusiasts!

What: Douche Bag@ The NUART Theatre 7:15 PM October 14

When: Thursday, October 14,[masked]:15 PM

Where: Nuart Theater
11272 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Don't let the funky title fool you. The term "douche bag" is not even used in the film. This is a great film, very funny, but also interesting in that it explores the dynamics of relational estrangement. In this case, two brother that have not talked to each other for two years. For those of you that don't know me, I will be waiting in the lobby with my famous blue dodgers jacket.

Here are a few reviews:

What sort of background do you need to be an actor? These days, it?s not exactly required that you graduate from the Actors Studio (or from anywhere else), but when I look up the credits of even the lamest supporting actors in bad Hollywood comedies, they tend to come with a long string of professional experience (?After a four-year run on the popular Nickelodeon series, Allegra made her big-screen debut in She?s All That and went on to co-star in??). As for indie-film actors, they often bounce back and forth between no-paycheck Sundance movies and big-paycheck schlock. So I was surprised when I got back to my room after seeing Douchebag, a bubblingly sharp and fresh and dark and winning comedy about a major, major a?hole, and learned that the movie?s mesmerizing lead actor, Andrew Dickler, started out as a film editor (he was an apprentice on Pulp Fiction) and since then has been?a film editor. Period. He has never acted before.
The thing is, he looks like a film editor, which grounds the movie, from its first funny moments, in a kicky, downbeat reality. The title dickwad, Sam Nussbaum, is about to get hitched to the very sweet and beautiful Steph (Marguerite Moreau). They live in Los Angeles, but Sam still favors the style of Seattle: He wears oversize grunge shirts, and he?s got one of those bushy postmodern hippie beards I think of as early-Spin-Doctors-meets-Zack-Galifianakis. Behind that fuzzy facial armor, he speaks his mind, coldly and cuttingly, especially when he?s talking to his younger brother, Thomas (Ben York Jones), a shy, polite loser-slacker who?s trying to become a painter while still sponging off mom and dad.
Tom has to be dragged down to L.A. five days before the wedding, and once he?s there, it?s clear that the two brothers hate each other (we?re not certain why). Sam rags, mercilessly and hilariously, on Tom?s artistic efforts (?Do you still do those doodles??), and the moment that Dickler, who has sensitive/beady eyes and the crack timing of a Vegas insult comedian, started to spew that testy aggression, I was grateful ? so grateful ? that I wasn?t stuck at another hip yet weak-tea cautious and ?liberal? mumblecore romance. Sam is more like the Larry David of the texting generation.
Douchebag, thank God, isn?t ersatz-mumblecore, like last year?s middling twentysomething Sundance attention-getter, Humpday. As directed by the gifted Drake Doremus, whose first film was last year?s Spooner, this is more like talky-core. When Sam learns that Tom is still smitten with the girl he had a crush on in fifth grade, he forces his brother to go along on a buddy road trip and find her (he?s got other motivations as well), and the movie turns into a rambly minimalist Sideways. It?s fascinating to discover that Sam, with his balding, tall-geek look and noodgy ability to annoy, is a major chick magnet. Douchebag is a movie that understands, from the inside out, why even nice girls like jerks. The movie, though, is finally about two brothers who have pushed each other apart for so long that they don?t even know the damage their broken bond has caused them. In its way, Douchebag is a touching love story. It?s just not the love story you expect.

Two estranged brothers reunite right before one of them is to be married, only to wind up embarking on a bizarre road trip that will once and for all determine whether or not these two will remain a part of each other's lives. Directed by rising star Drake Doremus, Douchebag is great in its delivery of awkward, relatable humor ? the kind that only presents itself when two somewhat shlubby, disheveled brothers are forced to spend some quality time together even though they hate each other's guts. Its low-budget, shot-on-the-fly vibe may not make it appealing to the big studios, but Douchebag could easy find its audience once out there thanks to a catchy title and accessible situational comedy.

Sam is only a few days away from his wedding to a beautiful fianc? who's head over heels for him. The final arrangements are being made, and now all he has to do is sit back and wait for the rest of his life to begin. But when his fianc? Steph takes it upon herself to surprise Sam by bringing his estranged brother, Tom, to stay with them for the wedding, the brothers find themselves together for the first time in two years and not really prepared to confront all their old demons. After a dinner conversation leads Tom to reveal that he was only in love once and it was in fifth grade, Sam decides it would be fun to track down this mysterious fifth grade girlfriend to see if she'd like to be Tom's date for the wedding.

After locating three women with the same name as Tom's fifth grade girlfriend, the brothers head out on the road in the hopes that one of these girls will be the right one. Sure, Sam ? with his long beard and aggressive attitude ? should probably be helping his fianc? put the final touches on the wedding, but it soon becomes apparent that this trip isn't so much about helping Tom find his old girl as it is about Sam looking to experience "relationship freedom" one last time before he gets hitched.

And that "freedom" consists of Sam constantly looking to talk to girls, either with the intention of setting Tom up with a date or because Sam just wants to see what it feels like to be that guy with no attachments or plans or deeply upset fianc? back at home. Tom, with his passive aggressive demeanor, eventually catches on to Sam's womanizing ways, but will it be too late to save Sam from ruining the wedding and making the biggest mistake of his life. Then again, maybe it's what Sam wanted all along.

Right off the bat with a film titled Douchebag, you're expecting one of these movies where it's all about one crazy character and everyone else is only there to service his or her wild antics. And while it's definitely thrown off some critics when they've come to find out that Sam is more normal and relatable than an all-out, over-the-top a**hole, I actually liked that aspect of the film because Sam isn't supposed to be some cartoonish shmuck ? he's supposed to be that dude who says stupid stuff and hits on other people's girlfriends even though his wedding is only days away. Essentially, he's a douchebag ... but he doesn't want to be. And that's what Tom has to help him get past, but only after he gets over the really douchebag-ish thing that made these two estranged in the first place.

Doremus doesn't try to knock you out with fancy shot selection or a top 40 soundtrack, but instead lets the camera act as a third passenger on the brother's therapeutic road trip, carefully following along without getting in the way. Douchebag is short ? and maybe a little too short ? but it definitely packs a punch and creeps into those personal places you might not want it to explore. Everyone has at one point or another been friends with a douchebag, in love with a douchebag or just familiar with a person that's too selfish and unaware of the negative effects they have on other people. As such, Douchebag may hit close to home for a lot of you ... and for the rest, well, it'll give you enough warning signs to help make sure a douchebag doesn't enter your life anytime soon.

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