Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Binge Review: A Coming of Age Story With A Lot of Craziness

Release date: August 28, 2020
Running time: 98 minutes
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Skyler Gisondo, Dexter Darden, Eduardo Franco

Set in a time where all drugs and alcohol are illegal, the only day anyone can participate in the "fun" is on Binge day.  Friends Griffin (Gisondo) and Hags (Darden) have been dreaming of their first Binge--which you are allowed to participate in if you are over 18--for years.  Hags has been planning to make this an epic night, the best of their lives.  He also wants the glory of winning "The Gauntlet," an event that takes place at a wild party involving a grueling series of challenges to test the drug tolerance of all involved.  Griffin is also concerned with making sure his future isn't affected by this night, both because of his desire to go to Brown next year, and his desire to ask his longtime crush and friend to prom.  The pair are joined by Andrew (Franco) out of necessity, and the trio start on a long adventure of drugs, escapades, and ridiculousness.

If the premise of this film sounds familiar, it should.  The film is a play on the idea in the Purge, but with decidedly more hilarious and less murderous results.  The concept of a one night alcohol and drug bender is an intriguing one, and one that could lead to all sorts of hilarity.  And this does allow for many wild scenarios throughout the night, as the trio try to make their way to the party of their lives.  The friends are fun to watch and each brings something to the overall adventure.  Griffin is more practical and driven, the consummate voice of reason in the group.  Hags is more focused on the big picture, trying to make sure that they have the time of their lives.  And Andrew is a wild card, doing and saying random things to help or hurt the situation.  And it was also appreciated that the cast itself is a diverse group of friends.  But as entertaining as the cast was, Vince Vaughn is the star of the show.  He is a literal and figurative man among boys, showing his talent for humor throughout the film.  As is his custom, when Vaughn is on screen he elevates everything around him, making the jokes funnier and the situations crazier.  And the whole scenario does allow for some fun and crazy situations throughout this wild night.

However, the Binge is less about the alcohol fueled bender, and more about the journey to get there.  It is similar to a lot of coming of age teenage / young adult stories--such as the phenomenal Booksmart--where the journey itself and not the destination are the thrust of the film.  And although this format does allow for a lot of ridiculousness, it does make you feel like there is a certain amount of time wasting as the trio try and try again to make it to the party.  However, the journey there has plenty of funny moments and there is a very hilarious pivot that occurs towards the end of the movie that is absolutely phenomenal.  In fact, the whole movie picks up towards the end, as some very ridiculous situations occur and several plot threads finally intertwine.  This movie has a strong start, and a phenomenal finish.  And along the way, you get to see a lot of ridiculousness and hilarity, while also relating back to some of your own high school times.  

In the end, The Binge is a fun, ridiculous Purge-like movie with good camaraderie, ridiculous situations, a good group of friends and Vince Vaughn being his Vince Vaughniest. 

Watch it.

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