I have a really bad habit of watching movies because they’re filled with my favorite actors. To the casual observer, this seems like it would be a good idea, and common sense to boot. “A movie with a relatively good premise that’s filled with people I like? What could go wrong?!”
For whatever reason, though, things never seem to work out well with that train of thought. Search Party is not an exception to that rule.
The cast is a comedy hipster’s wet dream: Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch and T.J. Miller, Happy Endings’ Adam Pally, the internet’s sweetheart Alison Brie, Breaking Bad/Don’t Trust the B’s Krysten Ritter, How Did This Get Made?’s Jason Mantzoukas, and even Garfunkel and Oates! Add in smaller roles for Lance Reddick, Jon Glaser, J.B. Smoove, and Brian Huskey, and it seems like there’s no way this could go wrong.
Except it does go wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
Much of the movie is painful to watch. It’s doubly painful because I oh-so-wanted to like it. But that’s where you fall into the trap of the double-edged sword that is having a movie filled with people you like from other places: you’ve seen them do far better and more enjoyable work with better writing elsewhere.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s not all a waste of time. The scenes with Jason Mantzoukas and Krysten Ritter as a kidney-stealing duo are the best part of the movie, and genuinely funny. (But really, I’ll enjoy Jason Mantzoukas in just about anything.) T.J. Miller has some great stuff to work with, and I’ll always give a movie bonus points if one of its character is watching a Nicolas Cage movie. Thomas Middleditch has some funny parts, too, but he spends half the movie fully naked (for comedic effect? or something), which is just awkward and jarring.
Even though the movie is only 93 minutes (including 10+ of incredibly slow-moving credits), it’s hard to recommend this movie to anyone other than people who want to see Thomas Middleditch run around naked.
Take those 93 minutes and watch 3 episodes of Silicon Valley, or 4 episodes of Community, or 4 episodes of The League. Search party is not worth your time.