Cover Versions

Finally, a film loaded with our favorite Disney Channel and Nickelodeon actors swearing, doing coke, and wearing low-cut swimsuits. About time…am I right?

In Todd Berger’s Cover Versions, the band, Starfoxy, is on the cusp of greatness as long as they can make their appearance at an unnamed music festival just outside Palm Springs. After a late-night house party, the band members find themselves in trouble when they discover a fan face down in their swimming pool and two more overdosed in a fatal car accident just outside the city.

The film uncovers the mystery of the dead fans through a series of interrogations involving each of the band members. The band member includes lead singer Jackie (Katie Cassidy), Kirk (Austin Swift), Travis (Jerry Trainor) and Byron (Drake Bell). Each one tells their side of the story, and we see the deadly event replayed from their unique perspective.

“…loaded with our favorite Disney Channel and Nickelodeon actors swearing, doing coke, and wearing low-cut swimsuits.”

Start with lead singer, Jackie, who lays a strong foundation for the other stories to build upon. Kirk is the underappreciated inspirational member of the group, who is or is not a team player. Travis is the pothead, and Byron is the conflicted bandmate.

Rather than bore us with a shot for shot replay of the same events, writer/director Berger wisely allows each retelling to reveal major plot points, such as the firing/quitting of Kirk over creative differences and the true motives of the dead groupies Maple (Debby Ryan), Amber (Ashley Argota), and Lucy (Jenn An). Each revelation is significant and keeps the story intriguing.

Todd Berger also screws around with even the most minor details to make the repeats interesting. The obvious thing to do is film each retelling from different camera angles, but Berger changes up the set dressing, the costuming, and in some cases the actors.

TV sitcoms love using the device of one event and multiple witnesses for comedic fodder. Cover Versions is clever in its use of the characters’ recollections and revelations. The ending has a nice twist that ties everything up perfectly. The acting is a little stiff at times, but good overall. It’s light on the sex, but heavy on the drugs and rock n’ roll.

Cover Versions (2018) Written and directed by Todd Berger. Starring Katie Cassidy, Drake Bell, Jerry Trainer, Austin Swift, Debby Ryan, Ashley Argota, Jenn An, and Brian Howe.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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