Ben (Larry Longstreth) is at a crossroads. Recently split up from his girlfriend Donna (Marisa Zakaria), he must decide whether to continue life as it has been, hanging with his two loser friends Tom (Aaron Longstreth) and Joey (Travis Fritz), LARPing, playing video games, partying and engaging in other predominantly elitist geek shenanigans, or become that which Donna and society seem to want out of a young adult: a Facebook pic-posing, “get-together with friends for a social engagement,” large sunglasses-wearing douchebag.
Larry Longstreth should not be a new name to Film Threat readers; his Batman’s Gonna Get Shot in the Face short animated film has been a favorite around here for a while. In this live-action feature film, Director-writer-lead actor Longstreth keeps his geek cred on display while also exhibiting more than a little bit of that “hipper than thou, even though I’m not hip at all” elitist snark that so many of us socially outcast, though self-assuredly “intelligent” folks seem to possess. Because of that, what could otherwise be a film where you just shrug off the crossroads moment as something rather trivial (wearing a pink shirt collar-up will get you the girl of your dreams? Why not?) is played out as an epic battle of the soul, because in this case it truly is. A life spent mocking and acting higher than that which is popular often dies slowly, if at all, should it be forced to embrace the normal. But that’s the fear, isn’t it? Embracing average and mediocre, isn’t that growing up?
Of course, as you get older, you see those concerns as silly as the “life or death” box you thought most of your decisions and actions in high school were. We’re all going to die, it really doesn’t matter how we handle it all in the meantime, because when the sun supernovas and then nothing is left of our planet, no one will remember you anyway. A speck! We’re specks in the universe! So get happy already! But I digress…
The Long, Slow Death of a Twenty-Something is a very funny film that revels in the humor and unfair hypocrisy of a world where the geek has been told they’ve inherited the world, while still being forced to take the backseat to the good-looking and popular. It even manages to work in some truly poignant and sincere moments, such as an exchange between Ben and his Dad (Al Hudson) when the latter calls Ben on his hypocritical bullshit. While I don’t think everyone will exactly relate (such as 99% of the types of people that Ben’s character is mocking in the film), there is still the universality of the struggle and the fear of getting older and having life change for audiences to embrace.