Review: Guys’ weekend reveals truths in low-key ‘Joshy’
A game comic cast helps light up Jeff Baena’s amiable comedy, but the waters never run too deep
A guys’ weekend is fertile ground for boozing, drugging and just a little bit of self-reflection in writer-director Jeff Baena’s “Joshy,” an amiable comedy about a group of dudes trying to help their friend forget a recent tragedy.
That friend is Joshy (“Silicon Valley’s” Thomas Middleditch), who came home on his birthday to find his fiancee, Rachel (Alison Brie), had hung herself.
Four months later, Joshy and his pals decide to go forward with their plans for Joshy’s bachelor party, so they meet up at a vacation home in the mountains to whoop it up for a few days. Those pals include Ari (“Happy Endings’” Adam Pally), Adam (Alex Ross Perry) Eric (“Kroll Show’s” Nick Kroll), and Eric’s buddy Greg (Brett Gelman).
Typical shenanigans ensue, and Baena explores the various relationship dynamics within the group through their interactions. He also gives each character an arc, slight though they may be; Ari hits it off with a girl at a local bar (played by Jenny Slate), though a secret he’s hiding threatens their bond.
The very game cast has fun with the material — Kroll and Gelman could spin off into their own dimension — and Baena keeps things purposely light. He makes a major misstep introducing Rachel’s parents (Paul Reiser and Lisa Edelstein) into the mix, bringing up questions that are never explained and derailing the film’s low-key, forlorn-but-freewheeling vibe.
“Joshy” is like a weekend with random friends: fun and familiar, but rarely any deeper than the personalities involved. Don’t look for more and you’ll be fine.
Rated R: for drug use and language throughout, sexual content/nudity and a disturbing image
Running time: 93 minutes