Film Review: Flock of Dudes

What happens when a gang of merrie men split up in the interests of gaining maturity forms the basis of this generally sprightly comedy.
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Bob Castrone’s Flock of Dudes only made me realize how good Barry Levinson’s Diner was, one of the best coming-of-age films ever made featuring a bunch of male friends. Castrone tries hard to make Adam (Chris D’Elia), Barrett (Bryan Greenberg), Howie (Brett Gelman) and Mook (Eric André), good buddies since college, irresistibly winning and funny. They’re all right as denizens of the male-bonding genre go, but sorely lack the blazing originality—and, at times, intellectual heft—with which Levinson drew his immortal Baltimore clique.  

Things go amiss with this posse when Adam blows his relationship with babe-alicious Katherine (Jamie Chung) when he shows up drunk to meet her parents, and then gets evicted from his apartment along with his pals. It is then that Adam’s younger brother, David (Skylar Astin,) steps in and suggests a breakup for the lads to encourage less slackerishness, not to mention positive change and growth as individuals, moving beyond their familiar juvenile and drunken pack mentality.

It’s a rocky road for this unabashedly dissolute brethren, as separation anxiety is felt by each of them in acute if differing ways. Adam is particularly hard hit, suddenly finding himself friendless, with his writerly ambitions as well as his romance seemingly thwarted. He finds some rosy respite when he meets Beth (Hannah Simone), a perky, attractive co-worker with whom he shares a hesitant, on-again, off-again intimacy.

While this comedy may be no earth-shaker in terms of imaginativeness and has its share of clunky lines, there are enough funny ones, as well as some definite heart here once its comic rambunctiousness settles down. A game, amusingly diverse cast help to put it over. While D’Elia is just okay as the troubled protagonist, Simone plays well with him and injects her character with a real, highly ingratiating spark. Adam’s eternally bickering and querulous male clique is aptly embodied by the actors cast to comprise it. Astin seems to enjoy playing the more uptight aspects of his role, and erstwhile teen golden girl Hilary Duff is radiant as his fiancée. You can easily believe in Chung as a girlfriend it would be pretty disastrous for anyone to lose, while a hilarious Carly Craig handily steals the film as a particularly clueless, even downright dangerous nightmare of a blind date for a post-Katherine Adam. (Her tiger-butt tattoo pretty much says it all.) Mario Lopez, Kumail Nanjiani and Ray Liotta (forced and creepy beyond the demands of his character) pop up in comic cameo roles of varied effectiveness.

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