By Don Simpson | October 6, 2010
Director: Drake Doremus
Writer(s): Andrew Dickler, Drake Doremus, Jonathan Schwartz, Lindsay Stidham
Starring: Andrew Dickler, Marguerite Moreau, Ben York Jones, Nicole Vicius, Amy Ferguson
Sam (Andrew Dickler) is only a handful of days away from tying the knot with Steph (Marguerite Moreau), a beautiful woman who is head over heels for him despite his propensity for being a douchebag. The final arrangements for the wedding are being made and Steph begins questioning Sam about why his estranged brother Thomas (Ben York Jones) is not attending the ceremony (and why are they estranged?).
Steph takes it upon herself to surprise Sam (and Thomas) by hand-delivering Thomas to their Los Angeles home to stay with them through the wedding. Sam and Thomas find themselves face-to-face for the first time in two years and neither of them are very happy about it. Sam’s knack for being patronizing and condescending towards his younger brother rears its ugly head, promptly reminding Thomas why he hates Sam so damn much.
A dinner conversation forces Thomas to reveal that he was only truly in love once in his life — with Mary Barger in fifth grade. Sam and Steph decide that it would be fun to track down Mary to see if she would like to be Thomas’ date for the wedding. By way of a $40 people locating website, they find three Mary Barger’s currently residing in California. Rather than using the telephone, Sam opts to drag Thomas on a road trip to find the real Mary Barger. Yes, Sam should be helping Steph with last minute wedding preparations but it soon becomes apparent that this is Sam’s final hurrah before getting hitched to the ball and chain of monogamy.
A devout vegetarian and gardener, Sam looks like a poster boy for early 90s grunge: over-sized flannel shirts, baggy shorts and a long bushy beard. He speaks coldly, bluntly and with great authority, and it turns out that this major douchebag is quite the charmer with the ladies (thus perpetuating the myth that nice girls like douchebags). I am, however, disappointed that Sam’s vegetarianism is used as a comedic tool to define him as a douchebag (of course this is somewhat redeemed when Sam is revealed to be a vegetarian poser).
Thomas seems emotionally scarred — like an abused animal — probably no thanks to the years he spent in close proximity to Sam. He is a timid and polite slacker with lofty aspirations of becoming a painter (while his parents support him financially). Sam’s skills of condescension peak whenever he rags on Thomas’ artistic skills, or lack there of. (“Do you still do those doodles?”)
Though slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect, most of us know people like Sam and Thomas. They converse and act like people rather than thespians and for the most part the situations we find them in do not seem all that contrived or manipulated. Directed by Drake Doremus, Douchebag could easily find itself at home with much of the mumblecore oeuvre (especially Humpday and Old Joy). Sure, the roles the director and script-writers are much more pronounced in Douchebag than in most mumblecore fare, but Doremus shows a real knack for keeping things 100% organic and natural.