The Ben Stiller-produced Friendsgiving film is a holiday-themed whacky comedy that sometimes just needs to exercise a little more restraint.
For every fantastic, illuminating, character-driven high-point, there is a lowbrow joke or gag that feels like it’s pulled from a different film.
If we were to compare to Stiller’s own filmography, Friendsgiving tries to be a Meet The Parents, but ends up having more in common with the ribald, raunchy The Heartbreak Kid, oddly enough starring Malin Akerman, the lead here.
I think it’s safe to say one of those films is more well-regarded than the other, and though this story of two best friends navigating Friendsgiving with people they know while they work through trauma has upsides, I saw something much more exciting under all the racket.
The cast is impeccable: Kat Dennings, Akerman, Jane Seymour, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Jack Donnelly, Aisha Tyler, Deon Cole, Ryan Hansen and Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor make a great ensemble.
But they’re bogged down by a formulaic script. This film has funny moments, but I just wish it had more substance and more high-points.