Writer-director-star James Pratt’s Malibu Crush is about loveable slackers Michael (James Pratt) and Duey (Billy White). Despite their lack of career ambition, the two have a fierce passion for inadvertent chaos, bringing mayhem to all whose paths they stumble across. After a few Malibu misadventures, Michael receives a voicemail from his high school sweetheart, Bridgette (Kelly Monisse), claiming she has a son with him and wants to see him one last time before getting married.
The problem for Michael is that she lives half a world away in Bondi Beach, Australia. Despite their previous lack of motivation, the two ambitious idiots pose as film students directing a high-end commercial while they make their way “Down Under” in search of Michael’s lost love. Posing as filmmakers, the friends befriend aspiring director Emma (Bella Valentini) and nautical enthusiast Carl (Daniel Musial), who round out a cast of colorful characters who get thrown into many outrageous scenarios.
Pratt lovingly refers to his comedy as “Dumb & Dumber goes to Bondi Beach, Australia,” and the influence is evident in every frame. Michael and Duey posing as directors and the many hijinks and miscommunications along the way feel so in tune with the shenanigans of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. The pair consistently make the worst decisions with the most confidence, leading to a lot of high laughs.
“…Michael receives a voicemail from his high school sweetheart…claiming she has a son with him…”
Malibu Crush delivers some solid laughs and gorgeous scenery on a low budget. Pratt and White have strong chemistry, a must in a buddy-comedy like this. The pair elevate each absurd scene, launching into comical bits and quirky bants no matter what misadventure their choices take them. Lines about being a “great sex robot’s wife” and monologues about dating a fake Ellen DeGeneres make the film quotable and memorable long after the credits.
Outrageous, wacky, and quirky summarize the entire vibe. Top-to-bottom, the movie feels like an early 2000s comedy that would use all the adjectives above; outrageous. Pratt steers into his influence, serving up hijinks in every scene. This could make this film divisive. If you’ve found yourself yearning for a Rat Race, Hot Rod, or Dumb & Dumber filled with zany characters and zanier punchlines, then this is a solid watch. However, if you believe 2000s-style comedy should stay in the early new milieu, this is not the film for you.
Pratt created an early 2000s comedy living in 2022. That’s not necessarily a misstep; it owns its wacky plot, hilarious scenes, and premise 100%, relishing in the opportunity to one-up itself. Some scenes overstay their welcome, and some plot points are predictable. But Malibu Crush has a lot of laughs and fun where it counts. The film is a blast from the past, rekindling a fun moment in comedy riddled with nostalgia.
"…has a lot of laughs and fun where it counts."