Home Entertainment I, Challenger review – endearing stoner hero gets buried alive

I, Challenger review – endearing stoner hero gets buried alive

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James Duval, the person who performed Frank the Rabbit in Donnie Darko, is the star of this intriguing stoner comedy-drama, whose wacky/terrifying premise virtually lives as much as the legendary interdimensional bunny. He performs Sid, an inveterate LA toker and on-line gamer (Challenger is his digital ID) who, 40 years previous and going nowhere, decides to bury himself alive and livestream the ordeal on the web. Based mostly on the YouTube movies of some Russians who’ve finished the identical factor, he believes it’s going to deliver him good luck.

The ploy is all of the extra stunning, as a result of for the primary half-hour writer-director Paul Boyd retains us firmly in Lebowski land. Sid is Echo Park’s resident pleasant neighbourhood supplier, handing out complimentary joints to the schoolkids he sells kush to. After being changed by a robotic in his final job and together with his lease in arrears, he’s resigned to being “a loser”. He can’t even win at Tinder: he finishes a date cable-tied to the mattress by a dominatrix. He’s finally freed by Logan (Coy Stewart), the twentysomething gaming companion who agrees to oversee the burial.

I, Challenger is at its finest when it performs the self-interment concept simply significantly sufficient, hovering on the sting of absurdity. However tonally Boyd is a bit unsure, letting Duval go too massive with the bachelor pothead shtick within the early phases (he smokes a joint that pivots backwards and forwards on a rotator fan). That it’s arduous to maintain any comedy as soon as Sid is six ft below and fretting over his cellular sign is comprehensible – although the movie stays basically too affable to ruthlessly extract the excessive stress of the likes of 2010’s Buried.

Regardless of this, I, Challenger at all times retains the sort of well-meaning brothers-under-the-herb optimism of the stoner style, whereas being extra imaginative than most. Duval, who makes an endearing dummy, has an important hallucination scene the place he’s beamed up right into a gaming laptop computer looming over the LA horizon like an Independence Day spaceship. However absolutely they need to have referred to as the movie Dude, The place’s My Coffin?

I, Challenger is launched in cinemas on 22 April.

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