Tag Archives: Snack Shack

Tin Roof, Rusted

Snack Shack

by George Wolf

Four years ago, Adam Rehmeier’s Dinner In America arrived as a delightfully subversive 90s punk rock rom-com. Snack Shack finds the writer/director still navigating the 90s with hilarious R-rated delight, even as the punk rock ‘tude has been usurped by capitalistic dreams.

It’s 1991 in small town Nebraska, and teen best friends A.J. (Conor Sherry) and Moose (The Fablemans‘ Gabriel LaBelle) are coming hot into summer with some big plans. They score at the dog track, market their own homemade beer and are working more than enough angles to please the Gordon Gekko poster hanging on the wall.

But then an unexpected new hustle presents itself. The boys’ older friend Shane (Nick Robinson) – who’s a bit of a local hero thanks to his service in Kuwait – is home to manage the local pool, and he gives the foul-mouthed young Gekkos a tip on how to win the city council’s summer contract for the poolside snack bar.

Before long, business is booming, and that 75-cent upcharge for using ketchup to write “fuck” on a hotdog (a “fuckdog!”)is paying off big time. Will success go to their heads? Will A.J. earn enough cash for his Alaskan trek with Shane, AND earn the respect of his parents (David Costabile and Gillian Vigman, both priceless)?

And what about Brooke, the hot new lifeguard (Mika Abdalla)? Could she actually come between these hometown homies?

You’ll know where some of this is going, but Rehmeier’s script delivers foul, horny hilarity, and outstanding turns by both Sherry and LaBelle stand out in a letter perfect ensemble. The time stamp is again spot on, with Rehmeier’s freewheeling style crafting an infectious mashup of The Way Way Back, Superbad and Project X.

And most importantly, Rehmeier captures that zest for life on the cusp of adulthood without a whiff of pandering or condescension. The boys will do some growing up during this one crazy summer, and the film will grow up with them. Slowly, parents don’t seem quite as lame, the hijinx aren’t as silly and some important lessons about love, sex, death and friendship hang in the air just long enough to hit just hard enough.

Fuckdogs are still funny, though, homie, just like a surprise punch to the nuts.