The Weekend comes from the "one spring night in senior year of high school"
genre, which must have hit a new height in popularity in 2007 with Superbad.
This film isn't as funny as Superbad or even very funny at all. It's a comedy
in the sense that the story of a booze-filled high school party, when told
accurately, will include some funny episodes, but the real heart of the movie
is developed through an ensemble character study. In that respect it is less
like Superbad than an updated version of Dazed and Confused.
It's not a high-energy film, nor a screwball comedy, nor filled with showy
set pieces nor zany stereotypes. It's a small movie which covers
well-worn territory, but I liked the characters and was interested in their
stories. Above all, I liked the basic honesty of the presentation. It takes
the basic premise (rich kid has a party at his house, invites pretty much
everyone) and follows it through with real people doing what they really would
do in that situation. Just about everything in this film could occur a shown
within the same time frame. Some of the kids are good kids, but they get in
trouble and do stupid things. Some of the kids are jocks, some nerds, but they
don't really get into any conflicts or ridicule one another. They just sort of
steer clear of one another and congregate in their own groups, as they would
in real life. As in many high school comedies, there are some stoners, there's
some T&A, and there are some assholes who prank the youngest guy, but those
events and characters are completely credible and just provide the background
atmosphere within which the main characters interact. Even though there's
plenty of alcohol at the party, and emotions occasionally run high, all of the
kids act the way sensible suburban kids would, and not that way kids normally
act in high school movies. It's not just the kids who are drawn from real
life. During the evening and the next day, the parents react almost exactly as
you would expect in the circumstances. Some are cooler than others, as would
be true in reality, but all seem like genuine parents.
The story even offers some plausible and nuanced surprises. For example,
the cool rich kid, best looking guy in school, is a virgin, and his buddy is
too shy to make a move on a pretty girl who's obviously interested - but
the nerdy couple have been having sex for a year!
It is the natural tendency of a writer to create a debut with splashy,
memorable, colorful archetypes, so I have to give a tip o' the cap to the
first-time writer/director of this film for populating his maiden effort with
well developed, multi-dimensional characters instead of Stiflers and Spicolis.
I also extend that hat-tip a little longer for his ability to find unknown
actors with the right personalities and the acting chops to deliver his
characters they way he wrote them, low-key and authentic. I have to admit that
as I started watching it, I kept wanting it to be bigger, funnier, zanier, and
more outrageous. As the story unfolded, however, I accepted it for what it was
and, although I had never heard of the film or anybody involved with it until I
actually watched it, ended up liking this movie very much. It's one of the
more enjoyable straight-to-vid films I've seen in the past couple of years.