by George Wolf
Buddy Games has the smell of something that’s been sitting on a shelf for quite a while, thrown out to theaters now like a piece of rancid meat to a hungry dog.
The theaters that are still open may be starving for content, but this meal is rotten to the core.
Director/co-writer/star Josh Duhamel leads a group of lifelong friends (Dax Shepard, Kevin Dillon, Nick Swardson, Dan Bakkedahl, James Roday Rodriguez) as the “Bobfather,” rich guy ringleader of their annual brodown throwdown they call the Buddy Games. Indulging their “primal need to dominate,” the guys hit an outdoor obstacle course to compete against each other in a variety of events for a lame trophy and – most importantly – bragging rights.
But an unfortunate paintball-to-nutsack incident shuts the games down, sending Buddy Game Champ Sheldon (Bakkedhahl) into a downward spiral that leads to rehab.
So at the urging of Shelly’s mom, the boys revive the Games after five long and aimless years, this time with a $150,000 prize to the victor.
If you’re sensing a mix of Tag and Grown Ups, you’re close, just remove all the charm of the former, and add even more stupidity than the latter.
It’s a tone deaf, crass and almost completely humorless exercise in objectifying women and indulging the selfishness of entitled d-bags. The longer it drags, the more you just wonder: why? Why did Duhamel pick this for his directing debut? Why did Olivia Munn accept another role as “low cut shirt for the marketing”? Why are we seeing Nick Swardson without Adam Sandler?
But, like most of those Sandler comedies, it looks like the cast of Buddy Games had a blast making it.
I guess you had to be there.