Indie film "Limo Ride" almost hits the cult classic mark is was striving for.
BY DAVID LYNCH
“Limo Ride” starts out incredibly promising, just like the excursion it depicts. It teases a fast-paced, stylistically creative, energetic romp that is also pretty hilarious.
From the first moments, the film immerses the audience to as much of an extent that a movie like this can, and probably should, given the crude material that proceeds for about 80 minutes. Make sure you’re settled in, because the story is told in a way that makes you feel like the characters – themselves the narrators of the story – are right there with you.
And that’s something the audience had better be okay with, because they are about as forthright as can be. Get comfortable enough to know you’re going to feel uncomfortable with their antics.
The premise is simple enough: a group of longtime friends make their annual pilgrimage to a local polar plunge at the beach. Add a lot of booze and the crude humor associated with 30- and 40-something-year-olds acting like they’re still 23, and it’s easy to predict the kind of movie this could be.
Directors Gideon Kennedy and Marcus Rosentrater are aware of the audience’s intelligence too, which is why they employ a unique style that adds a whole new level of fun to the story in the early scenes.
The movie’s pacing mimics the breakneck, informal manner in which the story is being narrated, and it works in conveying not only the characters’ nonchalant attitude about the events now that some time has passed, but also their varied personalities.
We all have stories we wish we could re-live and watch and comment on, and to see that kind of storytelling played out for the audience is a gamble that works here.
The first 45 minutes is free-spirited and consistently laugh-inducing. Mercilessly so — almost to the point where it wouldn’t work at all if it conformed to Hollywood standards, like a superhero origin story we’ve seen a dozen times, or a successful comedian-turned-unfunny actor who gets the lead role in a Mel Brooks remake.
Unfortunately, and ironically in line with the plot, it loses its way and its humor in the second half.
The groups’ limo ride takes a turn for the worse and, even worse, the unfunny. The film’s third act shows that it can’t balance the humor from early on with a style of comedy one or two shades darker and more dramatic.
The film stumbles, devoid of the energy and life it did such a good job of displaying early on. The writing takes a step back — the direction two or three — and “Limo Ride” becomes what we trusted it wasn’t.
Essentially, for how memorable the first half is, the conclusion is little more than a whimper, barely even providing us of a resolution worthy of making the audience just a little grateful they tagged along.
But if you’ve only got an hour to kill at the theater, you’d be hard pressed to find a better excuse to pay for half a film.
“Limo Ride” is screening at The Guild in Albuquerque on Sept. 28 and 29 at 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. both days. It will also be available on iTunes by the end of the year.
David Lynch is a freelance film reviewer.