What if all recreational drugs where banned except for one night, just like how killing works in “The Purge”? That’s the premise to 2020’s “The Binge”, which is the most notable thing about the film.
“The Binge” follows high schoolers Griffin (Skyler Gisondo), Hags (Dexter Darden) and Andrew (Eduardo Franco), who are finally old enough to participate in their first Binge (a day in which all drugs and alcohol consumption is legal), in which the film devolves into a predictable comedic party movie in which most of its jokes aren’t funny because they’re well written, clever, or well set up; they’re funny because they’re random!
I don’t have a lot of good things to say about this film, or a lot of things to say about this film in general. It reminds me of another nearly-unwatchable high school comedy starring Eduardo Franco, “The Package,” which, in short, is an entire movie about Franco’s character getting his manhood accidentally chopped off, with his friends tasked with returning it before it’s too late to reattach it. While nowhere near as offensive as that film, “The Binge” follows many of the same beats: A shallow premise that might work as a short comedy skit, but not a feature-length film; an unlikeable group of teenagers who must rekindle some sort of friendship; and nonsensical, ridiculous things flying across the screen, masquerading as comedy.
This is not to say that both films are completely unfunny. But they’re poorly constructed, cheaply made, and forgettable save for their premises.
I liked Vince Vaughn in this film. He plays the principal and father of Griffin’s crush, who was secretly a legend back in the day. He easily has the best screen presence in this film, and it was clear that he was having fun with the role. I would have much preferred if the filmmakers dumped its high school cast in favor of a film centered around his character. I know why these films use high school/college as a way to tell these type of stories, but it’s overdone, and more often than not I find the teenage characters in these kind of films to be grating. When you have a lowbrow premise like this film has, I always find it more enjoyable when it has an experienced cast that knows what they’re in is garbage and is willing to have fun with it than one that’s a big younger and takes its subject matter too seriously, which is my largest criticism of the film.
No one save for Vaughn’s principal is likeable, and that has a lot to do with the fact that their very goal-oriented, serious characters directly clash with the ridiculous situations they’re in. I understand reactions and pain are a large part of comedy, but we also have to like the characters we’re following in order to get invested in a film.
I would not recommend this film, unless you really like Vince Vaughn. It’s by no means the worst comedy out there, but it’s mostly a waste of time.
“The Binge” Gets a 2/10