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Film Review: “Doomsdays”
















This is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years, a true screwball comedy for the early 21st century about two slackers who break into vacation homes in the Catskills and ransack them. Doomsdays plays like a Hope & Crosby Road picture only with sociopathic criminals as the rascally ne’er-do-wells who charm their way into your heart. To carry the Road analogy further, the straight Crosby role is  played by Dirty Fred (Justin Rice), a wisecracking, booze guzzling pickup artist with the manner and appearance of an extremely scruffy grad student, and the Hope role by Bruho (Leo Fitzpatrick) who looks and acts like an escapee from an asylum for the criminally insane, a deeply antisocial personality with a penchant for slashing tires and trashing cars (all for a very altruistic reason) and a hidden kink that plays an important part in the plot.

The dynamic between these two alone provokes steady entertainment as they drift from one empty resort home to another. They break in, get caught yet talk their way out of it, and trash every place they visit, making sure to drink all the decent alcohol and carry off any good drugs they find. The action kicks up further when an acolyte joins, Jaidon, a kid they find passed out after a riotous party who follows them, intrigued by their footloose, glamorous lifestyle. Brian Charles Johnson gets big yuks from the role, consummately playing a chubby putz with a burning desire for a life of action and danger.

The group is completed by Reyna (Laura Campbell), a bright, lively young woman who Dirty Fred chats up at a party (that he crashed, natch). Reyna throws over her conventional lifestyle and joins the wild and groovy housebreaking scene. She quickly proves more adept than the men, effortlessly talking their way out of being caught. This character adds sexual tension to the plot with shifting relationships between Reyna, Dirty Fred, and the initially hostile Bruho. The film did drag a bit during the last half hour as the  relationships played themselves out, yet this did lead to a satisfying conclusion I won’t give away. The lull in the last third is easily forgiven, given the frantic pace of the first two thirds as the gags fly hot and heavy.

There is a lot of really funny dialogue, most voiced by Dirty Fred, with his perpetually sardonic, unflappable, been there, done that manner. There are so many jokes, the film warrants a second viewing to catch stuff you missed the first time. I found this film amusing for personal reasons since I’ve vacationed in upstate New York a lot (a really beautiful part of the country), but Doomsdays should appeal to just about anyone, so long as they like their humor black.

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