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By Stina Chyn | May 31, 2004

Shadow puppetry, vicious clowns, an alcohol storage closet decorated with Christmas lights, and some buttocks spanking are all featured in Alpesh Patel’s film “Graduation Night.” Similar to “Can’t Hardly Wait” (Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, 1998) in scenario, “Graduation Night” is about the memorable and bizarre experiences a bunch of teenagers have the night of their high school graduation. The film primarily focuses on three guys: Nam (Adrian R’Mante), Dubber (Jason Liggett), and Quigley (Josh Waters). As three students who’ve kept themselves invisible throughout high school, graduation night prompts them to leave their mark.

Their evening doesn’t exactly go according to plan. Nam gets locked in a liquor store with Skye (Abigail Spencer) the valedictorian, and Dubber and Quigley are stuck at a party at Skye’s house. The clever improvisers that they are, they make the most of their situations. From watching a meteor shower to bullying the bullies, Nam, Dubber, and Quigley couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying graduation night. “Can’t Hardly Wait” and “Graduation Night” share the theme of search for one’s identity, but Patel’s film is considerably funnier. Some of the lines are somewhat clichéd, but the humor is more honest and the characters more natural in their interactions. What comes as a pleasant surprise is a (good) romantic edge in the film which surfaces in the scenes with Skye and Nam. They don’t immediately admit they like each other, but an alcohol closet lit by multi-colored bulbs has an effect on a person. You’ll end up wanting to get locked in one yourself.

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