Well, let’s forget the race for the best picture in 2019; the run to accept the Razzie award for the worst film of the year just got so much more interesting with Drunk Parents. A new, I think, comedy from Fred Wolf that is so inept, so crass, so humorless, so tactless, it actually attempts to double down on sex-offender jokes as if it had struck a wellspring of situational comedy about pedophilia. If that wasn’t bad enough, let’s pick on the disabilities crowd for good measure and not waste a second mocking a character as they wheel themselves away with jokes that sink faster than a bowling ball being dropped overboard into the Potomac. This isn’t an edgy comedy or even a dark one; there is no envelope being pushed here because it doesn’t know where the envelope is, to begin with.
What’s the greatest trick the devil ever pulled? Not that Keyser Soze didn’t exist, it’s how the team behind Drunk Parents could convince Alec Baldwin (Out of work father), Selma Hayek (Out of work mother), Jim Gaffigan (sexual offender… Yup) Joe Manganiello (Baldwin’s Make America Great Again brother), Treat Williams (Yuppie club friend), Ben Platt (A wheelchair-bound young man and puppy dog love for Baldwin’s daughter), Aasif Mandvi (extremely yuppie rich neighbor), Colin Quinn (a drunk hobo, so, yes, this one is perfectly cast), and even Will Ferrell (the other hobo, going for Coming To America’s vibe) to pop up in this mess that I am not sure this wouldn’t cause post-traumatic stress after a single viewing. How did he convince everyone (well, besides Quinn), to star in this nine-car pileup? It’s one of the great enigmatic questions you will ask yourself, but you may just want to live with a little of the mystery.
Fred Wolf’s directorial career started with the House Bunny (or Strange Wilderness; it’s a toss-up when you run a search) and fortunately, he has not had a long way to go to hit rock bottom. They say good actors can make any script sing, and yet the jokes are so inane that it makes talented comic actors like Baldwin (who has had the previous comic-chemistry with Hayek) fumble every joke that comes out of his mouth because while saying these lines he must have been thinking, “I’ve made a huge mistake.” Then comes the blitzkrieg of sexual offender jokes, from Jim Gaffigan’s Carl Mancini character to Baldwin and Hayek being set up as sodomizing by their pre-teen nephews who make Tom Green’s Freddy Got Fingered look like an episode of Fuller House. It’s almost comical how nothing ever works, and you can’t wait to tell someone you made it through the picture.
I generally would love to give any film the benefit of the doubt; you are reading a review from the same critic who felt The Package was the best comedy of 2018. Even in casting Kickboxer and Step By Step actor Sasha Williams in a role that gave me some of the “feel goods” from my childhood, Drunk Parents is the equivalent of being stuck in a crowded party with a new drunk friend who won’t leave you alone and who thinks they are funny and entertaining but are, in fact, overly crass, and unbearably humorless. Wolf and company even go for the feel-good by the end of the film, then they can’t even get that right.
I couldn’t imagine any film topping Replicas as the worst film of 2019; now I can’t wait to see the race to the podium to accept the coveted Golden Razzie between Wolf and Jeffrey Nachmanoff.
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.