After his fiance’s (Alison Brie) untimely death, Joshy’s (Thomas Middleditch) wedding is called off, but the house reserved for his bachelor party is still available. Not able to get their deposit back on the house rental, Joshua and his friends decide to have a “boy’s weekend.” As light as they want the weekend to be, though, reality threatens to impede on the proceedings.
Joshy is the bachelor party movie for sad folk. It is an addition to the ever-increasing genre of mumblecore indies, one that sees many known comedians taking on a more somber tone. Comedy is still omnipresent, coming wholeheartedly from the likes of Nick Kroll, Brett Gelman, Jenny Slate, and writer-director Alex Ross Perry (Perry, in particular, makes strong comedic use of his awkward character’s deadpan). But the film is a comedy with an underlying unhappiness, a gnawing melancholy.
Mumblecore has always been an acquired taste genre. The films delve into the dramedy realm often, and it is easy for them to slip into tonal imbalances and dragging narratives. With Joshy, the blend of tone is commendable; the film is funny in spite of wallowing characters, characters whose serious narratives are not totally undermined by the comedy.
Narratively, as is often the case with mumblecore, the film is intriguing but somewhat unfulfilling. The characters all get their screentime, but none of them follow arcs in any conventional way. This is not a problem, per se. It allows for a narrative more close to real life: mundane, mostly banal. But it also lets a lot of narrative threads fall short. The fact that the title character goes through much of the movie without any major lines of dialogue is both a testament to the film’s minor characters and a curse to its protagonist.
What the verdict on Joshy comes down to is a matter of personal taste. Fans of mumblecore are bound to find another hidden gem in this movie. Fans of the actors contained within may or may not be satisfied given their restraint, although they all give strong performances. The emotional investment is just superficial enough to keep the film from slipping into sentimentality but just heavy enough to make you sympathize for a room full of sad sacks in denial.
Joshy is currently available to stream on Amazon.
As always, thanks for reading!
Like CineFiles on Facebook for updates on new articles and reviews.
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)