This week is I Am SO High Right Now Theater It’s a wonderful binge (now on Hulu), the sequel of 2020 The bingewho satirizes The purge By turning the violent thriller premise into something you probably won’t find funny until you’ve downed half a can of high-octane cannabis gummies. As the Cleans occur in a world where all laws are suspended for 24 hours binge drinkings are taking place in the near future where drugs and alcohol can only be legally consumed one day a year. Some principals are returning from the first binge drinking to be part of the second Christmas movie – although it pains me to tell you that Vince Vaughn is out for that movie and Nick Swardson is joining. Whether that’s a disadvantage or a blessing depends on whether or not your brain was partially melted by recreational drugs.
The essentials: OK, so they’ve moved the binge to December 24th, because who wants to be sober while spending Christmas with family? The post-2027 Prohibition government probably did that as a populist smokescreen for some horrific laws banning kittens, or legalizing bazookas for civilian use, or giving health insurance companies carte blanche to bow down and find their way with us. OH RIGHT THEY ALREADY DO. I digress! We’ll meet again binge drinking Characters Andrew (Eduardo Franco) and Hags (Dexter Darden), who work as plush mascots at a children’s entertainment overstimulator amusement center, are fired after the kids start beating them and they hit them back in slow motion sequences which little girls hit Being slapped in the face and/or thrown into birthday cakes while “Joy to the World” is playing on the soundtrack. So many LULZ!
Remarkably, this sequence is unrelated to the rest of the film, so we hope you enjoyed it. Andrew is going home for the holidays to his mother, sister, brother, two fathers and his mother’s sensitive New Age boyfriend. Yes, two fathers. You are not gay. They fathered Andrew and his fraternal twin (is it the sister or the brother? I can’t remember) within a short period of time and no one knows who is the father of which child, although the one father is exactly like Andrew looks. It’s a rare medical anomaly for that to happen and hey what a burden bro I’m losing the plot here! Meanwhile, Hags (what’s a name is Hags? Is it short for something? Haggerty? Harger? Hamburglar?) plans to propose to his girlfriend Sarah (Zainne Saleh), but has to deal with her overprotective father (Tim Meadows). dealing with a whole to-do about the ring given to him by Sarah’s coke-inhaling grandma and ending up being donated to an orphanage along with a bunch of other gifts. Hey, we’ve all been there.
A very tenuous thread connects us to the other plot flotsam happening here: Andrew might be in a relationship with Kimmi (Marta Piekarz), but who the hell can tell? Maybe he just has something for her? I do not know. Anyway, she’s the Mayor’s (Kaitlin Olson) daughter, who throws a nice clean Christmas party and does her best not to let the binge disturb you. Her Christmas owl breaks free and consumes a large bag of drugs and starts attacking people and she enlists Kimmi to catch her. Meanwhile, the mayor’s brother, Kris (Swardson), who has escaped from the precinct and stolen a police car, unexpectedly shows up. Meanwhile, Andrew, disillusioned with his extra-loud, extra-dysfunctional family, wanders the city wondering what it would be like if he’d never been born (hey, the movie title had to come from somewhere) and ends up smoking a whole lot of it Angel Dust with a guy named Angel (Danny Trejo!) who takes him on an alternate reality tour so Andrew can see that the world would probably be a better place without him. And it’s all happening while everyone all over America is getting waaaaaaaaaaaassssteddddddddddddd.
Which movies will it remind you of?: It’s a wonderful binge takes its cues from stoner comedies like Friday and the Cheech and Chogers, or even semi-fine stuff like The night beforebut has more in common with unforgettable shit grandma’s boy and A very Harold and Kumar Christmas.
Notable performance: TREJO, because TREJO. And he probably has two or three more films coming out before the end of the year.
Memorable dialogue: Hags: What if Santa flies by and sees my penis?
gender and skin: none. Santa doesn’t see Hags’ penis and neither do we.
Our opinion: On the stoner film scale, It’s a wonderful binge looks like Merchant Ivory compared to a Happy Madison production. Of course, being a cut above the modern standard doesn’t mean it replaces dirt – it’s just a little less dirt. I’ll admit maybe I’m the wrong audience for this, since I’m only high on caffeinated seltzer, a substance that serves to sharpen my critical blade: this film is f—in’ wack. It’s sloppy and stupid and wouldn’t take a good joke if it fell out of the sky like an apocalyptic asteroid. It’s got “titcoin” jokes, cosmetology school jokes, wacky granny bits, bits where Santa Clause drops F-bombs, moronic Christmas carols about making people disappear, a gasp of a heist movie parody -of-control wildlife and a case of Gastrointestinal complaints. And there’s no better example of the film’s transcendent laziness than the gastrointestinal distress subplot, which is so unceremoniously dropped that we never know if the guy screwed himself or what.
Maybe we’re better off not knowing. The Day of the Drunk premise is more of a backdrop for dumb bits that aren’t dumb enough to be funny and not wild enough to be subversive. No one and nothing is challenged here, except maybe formulaic heist movie plots? To be fair, the film isn’t without fleeting – very fleeting – moments that set it above the typically grotesque Happy Madison outing. There’s an amusing homage to the Claymation Christmas specials, some typical Trejo gameness, and Swardson isn’t the repulsive character he’s played in far too many lowbrow comedies like this one. Meager pleasures, but pleasures nonetheless, I guess.
Our appeal: SKIP IT. Can you be high enough to laugh about it? It’s a wonderful binge? Probably. But it may need to be accompanied by a surgeon general’s warning.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more about his work below johnserbaatlarge.com.