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A sad waste of marginal talent.

DVD Review: Spring Breakdown

Spring Breakdown, already having spent the past couple of years shelved, finally makes its way to DVD. It should've been buried and never mentioned again. Rachel Dratch stars, along with fellow Saturday Night Live cast member Amy Poehler and former indie-queen Parker Posey, as an aging nerd who tries to reclaim her youth by attending a spring-break blowout with a bunch of college kids. The unlikely reason behind this lark is that these three friends have been employed by a powerful senator who wants them to keep tabs on her supposedly wild daughter (Amber Tamblyn, a talented actress sadly wasted here). The daughter turns out to be just as much of an unpopular nerd as Dratch and her friends.

There isn't a single decent laugh throughout this turd of a movie. Both Dratch and Poehler were quite limited in their comedic skills, but had their moments on SNL. Usually their best work surfaced when they were paired up with more talented cast members, like Dratch's work with Will Ferrell or Poehler's tenure alongside Tina Fey on "Weekend Update." After many years on the show, the limits of their ability were tested as they began repeating themselves ad nauseum. Each new character or impression seemed to be a variation on one they'd done already.

Rachel Dratch often played up her unconventional looks to good effect, almost winking at the audience in acknowledgment that she wasn't blessed with a model's features. Unfortunately throughout Spring Breakdown, her bug-eyed mugging becomes tiring very quickly as she tries vainly to milk laughs from a script she participated in the writing of (she is credited with story only, but in the commentary refers to herself as a co-writer). Poehler fares even worse, as she falls back on her "thirtysomething white woman using hip-hop slang" tactic, so frequently overused in her SNL sketches.

That's the problem that plagues so many movies spawned from the minds of SNL alumni. Even those that were not derived from existing sketches (such as Spring Breakdown), come across like undeveloped sketches in search of a story. The idea here is to offer a chick flick answer to Old School, which itself was a variation of earlier movies like Revenge of the Nerds and Animal House. Spring Breakdown is sorely lacking is any charm, wit, or attempts to endear the audience to the characters.

In other words, the movie is a cheaply made waste of time that contains literally nothing to recommend. The ideas are stale and no one involved seems to have invested much in the project. Seth Meyers, another SNL cast member, actually seems to be making an effort at making his character funny. He plays an obviously gay man in such total denial of his sexual preference that he married Dratch's character. Not a fresh idea by any means, but I'll give Meyers credit for being a good sport and trying to breath life into it.

Even the gag reel on the DVD is free of laughs. The commentary is one of those clueless affairs where the participants, in this case Dratch and director Ryan Shiraki, seem oblivious to the dreadfulness of their movie. Spring Breakdown should probably be avoided at all costs, even to those with strong loyalties to Dratch and Poehler.

About The Other Chad

An old co-worker of mine thought my name was Chad. Since we had two Chads working there at the time, I was "The Other Chad."

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