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“Watch Online A Sporadically Funny Friendship Comedy”

“A Sporadically Funny Friendship Comedy”

If a mid-life crisis happens in one’s fifties, what is a crisis in your thirties called? Perhaps it’s just permanent adolescence. “Adult Best Friends” mines its comedy from the friction caused when one of a pair of best friends moves into adulthood and gets married, while the other remains stuck. Doing double duty as the film’s screenwriters and stars, Katie Corwin and Delaney Buffett craft a believable friendship for their lead characters (also called Katie and Delaney) and write some decent dialogue about why people would or would not marry. Something is missing, however — the film ends up being more dull than hilarious. 

Katie and Delaney have been friends since they met at a sleepover in their pre-teens. When Katie’s sweet boyfriend John (Mason Gooding) proposes, she finds it hard to tell her pal. Delaney — who hasn’t ever liked any of Katie’s boyfriends — parties hard, sleeps with whomever she pleases, and has no plans to grow up or settle down. So when Katie invites her on a BFFs-only weekend jaunt to their childhood beach town to break the news, complications ensue. Chance encounters from their past happen, of course. Bizarre strangers meddle in their affairs, of course. Katie and Delaney break up and then make up. Of course.

“Adult Best Friend” tries for humor at all times, its comedy ranging from cringe to heartfelt to smart and back again. A throwaway joke referencing “Benedict Arnold” lands well. A more protracted one about dog excrement just makes one shudder. This whiplash between funny and plain tedious continues throughout. Whatever clever ideas the film has about living in your thirties are lost between the many bits that fall flat. The indistinct filmmaking doesn’t help. Assuming solo directing duties, Buffett sets most scenes in repetitive medium shots. Multiple two-person conversations are framed the exact same way from scene to scene, as if they were all shot on the same day. There’s no ingenuity or invention here. 

Buffett and Corwin play off well against each other, with an easy rapport and tetchy combativeness that makes the longstanding bond between their characters credible. Though there are a few recognizable faces in smaller roles, secondary characters are a weak point, with each one given a single characteristic — creepy, angry, annoying — and a single joke, repeated ad nauseam. Particularly unfunny are Cory Walls as a skeevy vacation renter and Carmen Christopher as a guy obsessed with hiring exotic dancers. Their one-note jokes wear thin quickly, becoming a burden on the film. Zachary Quinto can’t bring much wit to his role as Katie’s angry older brother either. Only Casey Wilson, as Delaney’s benevolent boss, manages to create a believable and amusing character in her few scenes, despite appearing on a Zoom screen for the entirety of her performance.  

The premise of “Adult Best Friends” recalls Nicole Holofcener’s 1996 debut “Walking and Talking” — also about two best friends who fall out over one of them moving on — and indeed the whole film aims for Holofcener’s brand of comedy. A lot of the ingredients are there. Upwardly mobile neurotic characters. A mix of humor and sincere emotions. Yet “Adult Best Friends” is less funny, less sharp and ends up being quite mediocre. Buffett and Corwin should take their confirmed screen chemistry and collaborate on something else, perhaps with fewer characters and more heart.

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