Heavy Times follows three college graduates coping with not having everything their institutions promised them. Hugh, a youth basketball coach, watches life crawl around him and his friends, Mark (unsuccessful used car salesman) and Dan (sandwich board advertiser). To say that their lives lack adventure would be an understatement. Even when Mark borrows a giant, raised van with all the extra features (CB radio included) and the group hits road…it’s only to visit Dan’s sister and her God-awful husband Rick.
It’s up to Rick, the overweight, slovenly, loud-mouthed asshole, to teach these boys about living. I can’t imagine someone I’d rather not spend a road trip with than this guy. He displays no redeeming qualities for the first hour he’s on screen and then the audience is supposed to feel for the guy just because he’s willing to defend the boys against the second most annoying character in the movie, a heavy metal basement-dweller named Gunther.
Watching Rick and Gunther square off is a lot like watching Taylor Lautner fight Robert Pattinson. You know who’s going to win but you don’t care—you’d just rather not have either of them in your life anymore. But Jeff Koen, who played Rick, does what he set out to do. His character is brash, over the top, and annoys the hell out of everyone around him. As That Guy, he succeeds, but one or both of the film’s directors should have reeled him in a bit. Koen vomits on the idea of subtlety and, at times, it works.
Technically, the film thrives. The cinematography is clean, the sound levels are all mixed well, and the soundtrack is surprisingly kick ass. Thanks to groups like Deertick, Dr. Dog, and underground hip-hop legend Akrobatik, the soundtrack may be the best part about Heavy Times. They even managed to include a great song from the 60s British pop group The Flower Pot Men at the end of the film. Musically, the film has a lot to be proud of. Throw in a great opening title sequence (a montage of YouTube clips of vans being driven off cliffs, ripped in half, and smashed into pieces) and you’ve got almost enough to make up for the stiff acting and irritating characters…almost.
Heavy Times will be available on DVD through Amazon and Indieflix and for Download through iTunes, Cinemanow, Amazon, Blockbuster, and Indieflix by the end of June.
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