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National Lampoon Presents: Sex, Drugs & A Penthouse Full Of Rejects
I find some films very hard to review, however in this case it was quite the contrary. Maybe I'm a little hard on indie flicks in general but I find watching movies like The Penthouse especially easily to slate because I can't help but look at the finer picture; that being the overall message of the film. While this film shouldn't be viewed any deeper than its title, for me personally it's glaringly obvious just how little effort was put into its making. In retrospect this film should have been made in the image of The Hangover or American Pie in its approach toward comedy yet the actual comedy itself is hardly existent.
This film certainly has an appeal about it don't get me wrong... on its shell it has what most people are looking for in a "teen" comedy. Even though it's got all the characteristics of a "teen" comedy, most of its characters are of an adult age (around 30 years old). The reason I mention this is; these are fully grown men acting like they never grew up past the age of 17 or 18. One could almost see the film as an unflattering look at middle aged men who never matured. Nevertheless, it is on this point where the film seems to struggle to decide what kind of comedy it desires for; satire or no-brainer? On both of these levels the film falls flat on its face.
You have all the regular characters that have become familiar with these types of comedies. We have Kieran (Rider Strong) who is the lovable geek boy who wants to move on with his life however he is hampered by his girlfriend, Erica (Kaley Cuoco) wanting to tie him down. Tyler & Heath (Corey Large & James DeBello) are the two party animals who seem to be addicted to drinking & womanising. Finally there's Trista (April Scott) who is Tyler's hot sister (the way she seems fine living in the same penthouse with her brother totally dumbfounds me). The film basically follows a bunch of roommates negotiate their day to day lives in a Penthouse (won on a reality TV show by Tyler).
There's not much substance to the story itself which means the movie trudges along for 90 minutes without really achieving any goals. It's almost a painful & unrewarding experience for the viewer. For me at least it felt like the whole production team couldn't wait for the movie to be finished. All we are really seeing is a group of men drinking, having sex, having parties then starting the next day the same way (hardly inspiring material). Anyway it's really disappointing to see already established actors stoop to the amateurish level that this film did. It was a shame to see a dynamic actor like James DeBello (Cabin Fever) play a narcissistic loser alongside Corey Large, it's a real shame indeed. I must however commend actor Locklyn Munro who was the only real standout character, playing the soul-seeking adventurer, Barry, who to me was a huge contrast to all the other drab personalities (even though he seemed strangely misplaced). That is one of the few credits that I can give this film, which just goes through the motions of being a comedy without ever achieving it.
This is yet another piece of wasted film reel, wasted by a lazy production team who should have abandoned the idea while it was still being thought up on the drawing boards. If anything the film would have been served better as a socially conscious drama rather than being a directionless comedy that stands as its final product. It doesn't surprise me that this film was leaked onto the internet, even before its Direct-to-DVD release. Just goes to show how much financial return the studio thought it was going to get from this stinker!
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