Growing Up and Other Lies
Film Review by Kam Williams
Crude Quartet Roams around Manhattan in Meanspirited Buddy Dramedy
Jake (Josh Lawson) is finally fed up with New York after years of trying to make it as an artist in the city. So, right before he’s set to move back home to Ohio, he summons his three BFFS, Rocks (Adam Brody), Gunderson (Wyatt Cenac) and Billy (Danny Jacobs), to the northern tip of Manhattan for an impromptu gathering.
The plan is to spend the day reminiscing about their misspent twenties while traversing the entire 260 block-length of the island. The trip starts inauspiciously enough, with one of them vomiting on a train platform at 7 in the morning.
Next, another makes an offensive overture to an elderly woman sitting on a bench, asking whether she’d like to sit on his finger. Later, Gunderson goes out of his way to hurt the feelings (“I thought you’d be dead by now”) of a woman (Lucy Walters) he’d ostensibly seduced and unceremoniously dumped after a one-night stand.
The crude quartet also offers dubious, unsolicited dating advice to teenage girls attending an elite prep school, suggesting they avoid romance at all costs, since it invariably leads to having one’s heart broken. We also witness them dismantling a “Broadway” street sign, and giving a hard time (“How much for everything?”) to a working-class clerk at a farmer’s market. And Rocks (nicknamed for his huge gonads), whose fiancée (Lauren Miller) is nine-months pregnant, risks missing the birth of his baby in order to participate in the interminable, 13-mile trek down memory lane.
Co-written and co-directed by Danny Jacobs and Darren Grodsky, Growing Up and Other Lies is a meanspirited, misogynistic dramedy masquerading as a nostalgic male-bonding adventure. But this meeting of The He-Man Woman Haters Club (ala TV’s Little Rascals) merely takes delight in insulting females at every turn.
Its lame excuse for a plot presumes to thicken when Jake learns that Tabatha (Amber Tamblyn), the ex he still loves, has just broken up with her boyfriend and is suddenly on the market. Will he still pack up and leave, or will he postpone his plans to return to the Midwest in light of this development? Unfortunately, given how unlikable a protagonist we have here, you’re more inclined to root against than in favor of a romantic reunion.
Who wants to watch four, obnoxious, testosterone-fueled slackers vent their vile on a gauntlet of unsuspecting victims?
Poor (½ star)
Running time: 90 minutes
Distributor: E1 Entertainment
To see a trailer for Growing Up and Other Lies, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Fn2vbw0120