There are a lot of great comedy web shows on the internet, like Funny or Die and Whitest Kids U’ Know, but my personal favorite has always been CollegeHumor. While Funny or Die is full of great celebrity cameos and Whitest Kids U’ Know always will go in uncharted territory to get a laugh, CollegeHumor has made me laugh far more consistently. The way they can parody a lot of nerd culture elements, such as Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, usually gets a hardy amount of laughs out of me. Ranging from live action gags, to even some fun animation bits, almost every CollegeHumor video is brilliant.
Still these series have struggled when it comes to branching their comedic stylings to the big screen. Ever since Will Ferrell and friends have created Funny or Die, their movies have seemed to dip a bit in quality. From the terrible Semi-Pro and Land of the Lost, to the mediocre The Other Guys, Casa de mi Padre, and The Campaign, Ferrell’s work just hasnt been the same. Whitest Kids U’ Know on the other hand has only had one breakout film, Miss March, and it was largely unoriginally and dull. Coffee Town is CollegeHumor’s first film, and luckily, its far more of a success.
Coffee Town follows Will, a website manger who finds his days working in the local cafe, Coffee Town. Soon his lifestyle is in turmoil, as mangers are planning on making the cafe into a bistro. His plan to stop this: rob the shop so that the idea of making the bistro there would be a turn off.
The script is the groundwork for a comedy, and Coffee Town’s script serves that purpose. Writer Brad Copeland has a very mixed resume, from writing episodes on the brilliant Arrested Development, to writing the dreadful Wild Hogs. Here, Copeland brings more of his Arrested Development-like script here.
The humor here is solid. Coffee Town has a great deal of versatility in its comedy, ranging from R-rated comedy bits, to even some fun drawing segments. The humor, even when its aiming for crude intentions, never is offensive to anyone, which is hard to say about most comedies these days. The comedy feels unique in its own way, and that Copeland is trying to bring something unique to the project, and it mostly works.
Copeland’s screenplay also has a great underlined theme. Most of these R-rated type comedies either dont attempt any themes, or just kind of half-ass one just to please audiences. Here, Coffee Town’s theme about the need to be a part of something is actually a rather complex one, and one that almost everyone should relate to. It was a huge surprise to see in a comedy, but an extremely pleasant surprise.
The cast here does a good job articulating the film’s script. Personally being a huge fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton, I was ecstatic to see him as a lead for once. Here, he gets to play a far more kind-hearted character, and is able to pull it off with ease due to is charisma. Howerton makes for a solid, likable, and relatable lead, and hopefully will get more roles like this. Working off him is Ben Schwartz and Steve Little, and the three make for a good trio. They all have good chemistry and are able to bounce jokes off each other with ease.
The supporting cast also features some true surprises. Friday Night Lights star Adrianne Palicki is finally able to bring some of her small screen charm to the big screen, with her first good performance in a film. Her character Becca could have had more development, but was unique and had good chemistry with Howerton. More surprising is musician Josh Groban’s role here; he’s having a blast just playing an inept, full of himself employee, and for a first performance, does really well. Coffee Town also features several cameos from CollegeHumor regulars, which was always fun to see.
Like most comedies, there are several moments in which the film falls flat with its jokes. Most notably Steve Little’s character, whose material can be a bit too silly and random to really be any funny. Almost every comedy faces this problem, and that is just because of trying to explore different types of ideas, but when this film misses, it misses badly.
The film also has a bit too much going on, leading to some of these elements needing more development. The movie is only about 84 minutes long, which is on the shorter side as films go, and seems like it should have been a bit longer to develop things, like the film’s romance between Howerton and Palicki, which had a solid base but could have used more screentime for the relationship to be better.
While Coffee Town seemed like it would be a very run-of-the-mill comedy, its actually one of 2013’s best comedies so far. With some out of the box laughs and a truly strong message, Coffee Town is a great start for CollegeHumor in the film industry.
Take a Drink: when you get Howerton confused for his Always Sunny character.
Do a Shot: whenever a familar CollegeHumor face pops up.
Take a Drink: for Josh Groban’s odd, but memorable acting