To say I struggled with the best way to word the title of this post would be a grave understatement. Rather than spend more time coming up with a better headline, though, I figured it’d be better to write a halfway decent post, watch Friday Night Lights, and call it a night. ANYWAY.
A few weeks ago I had the misfortune privilege of watching the latest offering from the infamous viral video collective known as Derrick Comedy. Their newest attempt at hyper-offensive content is a painfully long, look-at-what-we-can-do feature length film entitled Mystery Team. Peep the trailer below:
The title and plot are harmless enough: a group of childhood friends take on the task of solving a murder mystery in a town that has condemned them as juveniles for years. But where Derrick and Co. excel is in the ebb and flow of the comedic timing that exists in between the relatively simple story arc. Take, for example, a scene in which the team finds themselves in a gentleman’s club: pure comedic brilliance in a relatively unoriginal, stereotypical setting. The cameos in the film, recognizable from many of their shorts, also enhance the experience, particularly their friend who works at the grocery store, played by the hilarious Bobby Moynihan. But while there are plenty of laugh out loud (LOL) moments to be found throughout the film, it ends feeling like an exercise in patience testing.
With Mystery Team, the YouTube stars and College Humor stalwarts seem to be trying too hard. Whereas the film fires on all cylinders for the first, say, half of the movie, with each progressing minute afterward it gasps for more laughs and relevant plot points (and camera cuts). The question is whether the team (famous for delivering pithy, side-stitching shorts on the internet) felt they had something to prove by making the movie an hour too long or if they simply skipped all their editing classes while attending NYU.
I had the pleasure of seeing the group perform live in Syracuse, NY back when they went by the name of the Wicked Wicked Hammerkatz and I still haven’t forgotten the ingenious sketches they performed. They were clearly on to something, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see their videos popping up on YouTube, eventually boasting over 10 million views per video. While Mystery Team is very much in the same delightfully offensive vein as their online content, it sputters to a standstill by the end making you wonder why they didn’t cut it down. Someone mentioned to me that the Sundance cut of the film was much shorter, so it’s possible they are still planning to work on it. They have so much potential, and maybe next time they’ll remember that writing 140 pages worth of script doesn’t equate to actually having 140 pages worth watching. Either way, Mystery Team is an excellent effort: hilarious and well shot despite its sleep-inducing 3rd Act.