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Film Review: ‘Buddy Games’ is a Laughable, Easy-to-Watch Comedy

Courtesy of WWE Studios

Over the years, the comedy genre has grown and evolved considerably. From dark comedy to slapstick, there is truly something for every viewer and their preferences. When it comes to comedies with all male leads, there have been both great successes and near misses. Actor Josh Duhamel took on the feat of writing and directing a humorous movie with male leads, in hopes that he can make his mark in the comedy world.

Buddy Games follows a group of six friends that reunite after five years apart to reenact their favorite pastime: the Buddy Games. The games are a series of absurd physical and mental challenges, and this year, whoever wins the games wins $150,000. During the games, the men also attempt to fix their relationships, catch up, and heal old wounds.

The picture contains a multitude of familiar faces. Josh Duhamel portrays the lead character Bob, alongside actors Dax Shepard, Kevin Dillon, and Olivia Munn. Situating so many well known comedic actors together was a very smart move on Duhamel’s part, and the team has great on-screen chemistry.

One very familiar, very loved actor is Nick Swardson. Swardson is no stranger to comedic acting. The actor has earned his place in various Adam Sandler movies over time including The Do-Over, Pixels and Grown-Ups 2. Aside from this group of films, Swardson has a long resume of other sidesplitting movies such as She’s Out of My League. Chances are you’ve seen the actor in at least one film that has made you laugh, this movie being no exception. Swardson boasts possibly the best role with the most laughs in Buddy Games. One particular scene involving a bar and a woman he meets there offers a generous amount of cackles. 

For his writing and directorial debut, Duhamel has effectively created a movie with a solid number of laughable moments. While it is certainly not a perfectly put together or mature film, it feels like Duhamel was aiming for laughs over anything else, and he succeeds. Duhamel also manages to portray loving male friendships, which is not always an easy task. It’s refreshing to see new writers and directors, especially when they are also actors that we have come to know and love.

Olivia Munn holds one of the only female roles in the movie, playing Bob’s girlfriend Tiffany. Unfortunately, her role is minimal, and perhaps the worst storyline in the film. She only performs for few minutes total, and her character is never well established. Instead, she is brushed over before disappearing for most of the movie. When she does return, her character does her no favors, and makes light of domestic violence. This role is possibly the largest issue with Buddy Games.

Along with strong, funny moments, there are also numerous weak minutes that may trigger you to roll your eyes without so much of a giggle. One particular chunk of time involves Shepard—who plays Durfy—and a mink. This section targets easy, cheap laughs and ends in a surprisingly violent manner that doesn’t translate well.

Movie lovers looking for a lighthearted watch over possible award winning films will enjoy watching Buddy Games. If you’re struggling in quarantine and need a good laugh, this movie delivers. It will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly is funny and enjoyable to watch for the majority of its runtime.

If you want to watch Buddy Games, you can find it on demand, digital and DVD on November 24th. It is highly recommended to watch it with a few of your closest friends and a few beers.

SCORE: ★★1/2

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Written by Kendall Tinston

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