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Search Party (Blu-ray Review)

search-party-blu-ray-coverThe co-writer of Old School and The Hangover Part II has made his directorial debut with a road comedy that packs in plenty of comedic talent and attempts to make the most out of an ungainly amount of ridiculous situations. Search Party has a lot of good talent involved, but it unsurprisingly made little impact during its initial (and very limited) theatrical and VOD run. Now the film has arrived on Blu-ray where I had the chance to view the film myself. The results are not pretty.

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Film:

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Thomas Middleditch and T.J. Miller of Silicon Valley fame join Adam Pally (from the late, great Happy Endings) to form a trio of best friends. Middleditch’s Danial “Nardo” Narducci is about to be married, only for Miller’s Jason to screw things up on the big day and cause the bride-to-be, Tracy (Shannon Woodward), to storm out. Sometime later, Pally’s Evan is gearing up for a big meeting and promotion, only to be dragged out on a road trip to Mexico with Jason in an effort to rescue Nardo, who has found himself alone and naked. Plenty of misadventures ensue.

The premise is fairly straightforward, but that shouldn’t keep Search Party from achieving some big laughs, given the lead actors and assortment of supporting help ranging from Alison Brie, Jason Mantzoukas and Krysten Ritter to plenty of other familiar faces in the world of comedy and Lance Reddick for good measure as well. Unfortunately, writer/director Scot Armstrong comes from the more is more school of comedy, which takes away a lot of the chances for this film to cleverly stage its jokes.

If a comedy wants to go for shock humor, that’s all well and good, but there is a way to pace the way punchlines are dealt out in the same way horror films can accomplish effective scares. Messing up that timing means the actors may be doing something right, but a film can’t find a way to show why something should be funnier. Middleditch is a prime example, as he is literally left exposed to the world for much of the movie, but his scenes mostly fall flat as a result of no real attempt to mine his situation for the inherent humor that should be there.

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Miller and Pally fair better. Not because of the tired routine involving a business-minded friend and his slacker buddy, but because they occasionally get to riff effectively with each other and others. Still, the plotting only allows them to get stuck in one familiar situation after another, creating a giant lack of surprise anytime the film feels like it may be heading into fresh territory.

There are very few laughs in this attempted comedy and that required level of heart that many of these comedies strive for also comes up severely lacking. Instead, we get an increasingly stupid series of events that is topped off by an extended action climax in a film that feels far longer than its 93 minute run-time (10 of those minutes are credits).

Search Party has a good cast and some sense to try and put something fun together, but it misses pretty much every opportunity to do so.

 

Video:

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Search Party looks good on Blu-ray, despite its low-budget. The film is a road trip comedy, so that means exploring plenty of locations and we see lots of great detail in the places the film comes up with.

Depth:For a low-budget film, a lot is given shape throughout.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and inky here, with a blend of nighttime and interior scenes that always feel appropriately shaded, with no signs of crush.

Color Reproduction: This is a very colorful film and they generally pop throughout.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are very natural and work well with the various environments we see.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing.

 

Audio:

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Castilian and French DTS Digital Surround 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Castilian, French, Dutch

Dynamics: This lossless soundtrack does exactly what it needs to present all the sounds we hear in the film, even if it takes a while for noteworthy noise to actually kick in.

Low Frequency Extension: There is some effort to make LFE channel come alive, given the lively feel of this film and how it sounds when the action starts happening.

Surround Sound Presentation: The work done to properly blend this audio track and spread it across the various channels is another example of how satisfactory this audio track is.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is loud and clear.

 

Extras:

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Nothing but a digital copy.

Features Include:

  • HD Copy of the Film – iTunes or UltraViolet

 

Summary:

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There really isn’t much to recommend here. Search Party is a comedy that takes funny people and does little with them. The Blu-ray looks and sounds fine, but nothing has been added in the way of extras to expand any further on this not-very-funny comedy.

 

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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