There comes a point in most people’s lives, somewhere around your mid-20s, when your friends start throwing dinner parties. It might start out as just a special occasion, a birthday or an anniversary, something that would justify sitting around a table with other couples and eating homemade food. But next thing you know, you’re eating with them all the time. Going out is out. Eating in is in. It’s at this time that another thing begins to happen. Half of the women you grew up with get pregnant. For any teenagers reading this review: dinner parties and pregnancies, that’s what the next decade holds for you. Have fun.
Burstein and Norris, who co-directed “Abbie Cancelled” under the pseudonym “Dumb Bunny,” decided to take a look at this mid-20s phenomenon in their first film together. When their friend calls and cancels for that night’s dinner party, two couples who’ve never met are forced to eat a long and awkward meal together without their connecting buffer (their newly-impregnated friend, Abbie). What results is a rollercoaster ride filled with gauche jokes, broken furniture, yelling, crying, and some good ol’ fashioned gasoline huffing. For any teenagers reading this review…it’s not as fun as it sounds.
“Abbie Cancelled” definitely has its high moments. The huffing scenes are very funny. The collapsing chair hits painfully close to home. But other than that, the film hits some potholes where jokes don’t land, character motivations aren’t clear, and the pacing is off just enough to turn a potential hit into a so-so miss. “Abbie Cancelled” would be funny in a pitch session. That’s where you’d talk about all the top bits. But it’s what fills the other ten minutes that needed to be tweaked before the release date.