Review: “Joshy” Surrounds the Drama of Its Story With Comedy and Emotion





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Posted November 28, 2016 by

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While Jeff Baena’s “Joshy” boasts an ensemble cast of comedic actors, at no point does it feel like it was ever just going for the laughs. Instead, Baena starts off with a very harrowing scene and then keeps it on the fringe of the rest of the film as it dictates how the characters interact with one another and shows what lengths they’re willing to go to not deal with the issue at hand. It’s the night of Joshy’s (Thomas Middleditch) birthday and his fiancee, Rachel (Alison Brie), wants to stay at home instead of going out and celebrating; cooking dinner just for the two of them. Joshy decides to go to the gym before dinner and, while he’s gone, we watch as Rachel calls her mom and seems distant; almost like a stranger in her own home. Upon returning from the gym, Joshy finds that Rachel has asphyxiated herself on the knob of their front door using one of his belts and then our film beings its journey into what it means to love, lose, and be a friend.

Before the incident, Joshy had put a down payment on a vacation home that was going to serve as the scene for his bachelor party. With the payment being non-refundable, Joshy and a few of his friends – Ari (Adam Pally), Eric (Nick Kroll), Adam (Alex Ross Perry), and Greg (Brett Gelman) – decide to still go and celebrate life and friendship instead. This is the guys’ chance to take Joshy’s mind off his pain and show him a good time while the reason for them all being together in the first place hovers around each conversation, threatening to sober up any moment of fun.

What I loved most about this movie was the authenticity of it all. The way the guys still try to just get drunk and party because that’s the most extreme thing you can think to do to keep your mind off things. The way their own personal dramas feel more powerful to them but pale in comparison to what Joshy is going through so they try to deal with them quietly. The way in which writer/director Jeff Baena creates these situations that unfold and lets them just be; sometimes not having any kind of resolution because that’s how life is. The story never gets to that point that feel over the top and that’s what kept me in the moment; kept me feeling like I was going through the same things this group of strangers were. Kept me sympathetic to everyone involved.

Don’t worry: even though drama is at the center of the story, there’s still some funny moments to be found. The guys bickering over whether or not they should be playing a board game instead of going to the bar, a scene involving a B.B. gun and someone’s genitals, the saddest stripper scene ever committed to film, and a masturbation joke right at the end of an emotionally heavy scene. You get it all with this movie, and more than you wanted sometimes.

While “Joshy” isn’t for everyone, it is for those movie watchers that appreciate realism and a script that doesn’t take the easy way out every time. It’s an independent dramatic comedy that I respect for the positions it took more than anything.





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