Sometimes just sometimes you have one of those days where NOTHING goes right. This day was one of those. Cannes. It was hot (properly hot in the mid 30’s), I’d dressed in jeans and not shorts meaning I was sweating like innocent man on death row. Every person we’d spoken to had given us the bums rush and punting our current film around buyers we’d been rejected more than the pork pie at a Bar Mitzvah I’d already watched two films, neither of which I remembered a day later let alone a year or so down the line. Then again I did sleep through one and half of them.
Tired, annoyed I was dragged to one final film of the day… a Irish comedy that had a small role by some bloke from some band I liked. Begrudgingly I went, grumpy and hot . I sat down in the cinema preparing myself for two hours of time passing or maybe, just maybe a quick kip. So to say I wasn’t in the mood for another film was a mild understatement, let alone a comedy.
With all that in mind, it’s even more a credit to this film then that within minutes of the opening titles I was laughing myself to tears. Headrush hit the spot… a well observed, humours and funny stoner comedy.
The film follows Charlie a down on his luck pothead – kicked off the dole and dumped by his girlfriend convinced by his best friend T-Bag, with help from their dealer Blowback that they should be crime lord The Uncle new drug mules. Conceiving an elaborate scam to smuggle a consignment of Cocaine back from Amsterdam they meet The Uncle’s nephew Razor Rupert and convince him that they’re up for the job. As they lay their plans, each one egging the other on, each one refusing to admit to any fear, a series of events begin to unravel their carefully laid plans.
HEADRUSH is a stoner comedy and, if that ‘s your bag, it certainly is one of the better of the sub-genre… although considering recent additions have been the un-memorable DUDE WHERE’S MY CAR and HAROLD & KUMAR GET THE MUNCHES it isn’t saying much. Writer/Director Shimmy Marcus, making his feature film debut, delivers an assured film showing a talent for comic timing and really coaxing some impressive performances from it’s relatively inexperienced cast.
Leads Wuzza Conlon and BP Fallon, as stoners Charlie and T-Bag, play their roles well but the real gem in this movie is the acting debut of New Yorker, Fun Loving Criminal and all around legend Huey Morgan. Morgan is hysterical as the comfortable in woman’s shoes-drug dealer ‘The Yank’. For a hard as nails former marine, Morgan happily sends up his tough image and in doing so provides the real stand out moments of this comedy.
It’s not ALL good. Director Marcus needed to rain in guest star Berkof who is stupidly over the top and never quiet seemed to know what accent he was trying to do. A more experienced director may have pulled him back, allowing a measured rather than needlessly showy performance to come through. But the faults aren’t all Berkof as once again that ugly demon of money raises it’s head on occasion, no less in the hysterical van sequence which is just calling out for seemingly budget busting exterior shots. Instead we get some pretty badly staged studio based shots and van wobbling. I also noticed the film does loose it’s charm a little on repeat viewing but only a little and these small issues are just that small issues in a film that otherwise is brimming with well observed comedy.
But alas so far this film hasn’t made it to the UK – one of the many quality films that for whatever reason hasn’t found a release. To be honest the films sales agent, Park Entertainment, should be shot for not being able to bring this movie to a UK buyer. They have a real gem here, funnier than most Brit comedies of recent times the film, accompanied by rave reviews where ever it has played, has a charm and style that allow it to more than stand out from the crowd and heralds Shimmy Marcus as a name for the future.
In short: A gem of a comedy… funny, surreal and totally enjoyable from start to finish.
Author: Phil Hobden