Remember the “Sniglet?” Comedian Rich Hall’s one indisputable contribution to the world of comedy? For those of you born after the fall of Communism, a “sniglet” was a fictional word to describe something for which no word existed…but should. In the case of Nick Jasenovec’s “He’s the Juan,” a sniglet would be most helpful in describing a new girlfriend who comes between two friends, straining or even destroying their friendship. You could call such a gal an “Ono.” Jerry’s best friend Brian (co-writer Bill Hader) simply calls her “The Bitch.”
As Brian’s frustration grows at being such an obvious third wheel, he begins devising ways to sabotage the relationship between Jerry (Justin Carlton), his erstwhile best friend, and “the Bitch” (Kristin O’Toole). These attempts start out innocuously at first: Brian, playing private detective, photographs the presumably wayward girlfriend with another man…who turns out to be her brother. When fabricating such illicit relationships fails, Brian turns more sinister…except that his attempt to blow up the girlfriend’s car blows up her grandmother instead.
Finally, he goes over the edge entirely, assuming the guise of Hispanic gangbanger “Juan Sanchez” and waiting in ambush to perpetrate a drive-by. Although this becomes unnecessary when the couple breaks up before his very eyes, it remains to be seen if the restored friendship will survive the cute girl Brian spies walking her dog.
“He’s the Juan” offers a cute, if not particularly original premise, but never quite shakes the aura of “student film” which surrounds it. Director Nick Jasenovec telegraphs most of the humor way in advance, while shaky performances and a tendency to linger on scenes well after their punch lines only further waters down the humor. Ultimately, “He’s the Juan” leaves the viewer trying to come up with a sniglet for a short film that just needed a little more work.