'The Binge' Review
What do you get when you combine “The Purge” and “Booksmart”? The new Hulu comedy “The Binge”. While this film is a mash-up of those other movies, it does have a somewhat unique premise: what if consuming alcohol and drugs was banned in the U.S. — except for one day a year?
The cast of “The Binge” (what this day is called) is made-up of young, semi-recognizable actors. And Vince Vaughn. He plays the high school principal whose personal mission is to prevent his 18-year-old students (including his daughter) from partaking in the wild, potentially life-damaging activities of Binge Day.
The year is 2032. Kids have grown-up without drugs and alcohol as a constant part of their world. It’s an intriguing concept. A few scenes, in which the teens and their parents discuss “nostalgic” TV shows, films and experiences commonplace today, provide a glimpse of what this movie could have been.
But, unfortunately, “The Binge” is simply another dumb, dopey, unfunny party comedy. The dorky guy (Griffin) is trying to ask the sorta popular girl (Lena, the principal’s daughter) to the prom. Griffin has a shockingly stereotypical Black best-friend (Hags). They join-up with a really “out-there” classmate (Andrew) to try to score their way into the big drinking bash. Of course, outrageous hijinks ensue.
Writer Jordan VanDina and director Jeremy Garelick infuse little creativity or imagination into the script and finished product. Many details are sloppy. (Auto Correct is still an issue in 2032?) Vaughn’s Principal Carlsen gets more and more annoying with each passing scene. This eventually results in some very embarrassing scenes for the veteran actor. And a cutesy musical number and “prove your worth” final act sorely miss the mark.
Even with all its misguided execution and juvenile attempt at humor, one scene in “The Binge” sets a new standard for tastelessness:
Filming took place in the Fall of 2019 in/around Syracuse, NY. A year earlier, in Schoharie, NY (two hours east of Syracuse), there was a tragic limousine accident in which the driver, two pedestrians and all 17 passengers inside were killed. This was a major national story — and the deadliest transportation disaster in the U.S. in nearly 10 years.
There’s a sequence in the film involving Griffin, Hags and Andrew and a stretch limo. The driver is totally stoned. About a dozen girls are in back. Before the trio joins the driver in the front of the limo, Hags (who’s had more than a few drinks) utters this dialogue:
“Do you know how many people die in limos per year? If you think that a regular car accident is bad, now imagine you with 19 of your best friends all dying at the same time. Think of your families. Wouldn’t that be awful? Just awful. They will never recover from this type of trauma.”
The trio then jumps into the limo, which proceeds to endanger the lives of everyone inside (and others on the road) multiple times. All for laughs.
The lack of self-awareness is shocking. Everyone involved with “The Binge” should be ashamed of themselves for including this uncomfortable and offensive sequence.
Among other things.