HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:71
“Joshy” is kind of the who’s who of the Indie world. Quite literally there are over a dozen cameos and minor characters in the film that you would recognize from indie comedies (including Paul Reiser, who has actually been showing up a LOT of films these days) all over. First glance at the description, or the trailer, would have you thinking that “Joshy” is going to be a slightly different version of “The Hangover”. A bunch of guys are going up for Joshy’s bachelor party, but sadly the wedding has been called off due to tragedy. Thus it’s going to be a bunch of guys hanging out drinking and raising cain. However, that is about the farthest comparison film in the book to relate to. While this is definitely a comedy, it is not a FUN comedy. In fact much of the humor is very dark and based off of the incredible pain that Joshy feels rather than rolling on the floor laughter that you would expect from a dirty comedy.
I can’t really describe anything else in the film without spoiling the first 10 minutes of the movie. It is kind of the focal point to the ENTIRE film, so I’ll have to do a little spoiling. Joshy (Thomas Middleditch) is getting ready to have one of the best days of his life. It’s his birthday and there is only a few scant months (or weeks, it was never mentioned the time between this event and the wedding) until he is about to be married to Rachel (Alison Brie), the love of his life. He comes home, kisses his girlfriend and then heads off to the gym, only to come back and find out that Rachel has hung herself with his belt. Fast forwarding a little bit, Joshy’s Bachelor party is no longer a time of celebration, but a time of healing. Instead of just cancelling the event, Joshy and his friends get together for some bro time to try and heal some fresh wounds and empathize with their friend. Basically take his mind off of the horrible event that just shattered his world.
Joshy is in a bit of a haze, but his friends are trying their best to take his mind off of things even though they have their own problems. Best friend Ari (Adam Pally, who loves to work with Middleditch) is doing his best to love his friend, but also is crushing on the cute girl who’s lost her friends in the local bar (played by Jenny Slate), and Adam is a bit of a quirky guy. He’s just lost his girlfriend of 10 years and is kind of the anti-social nerd of the group who comes up with fantastic board games and doesn’t even like getting into the hot tub. Eric (Nick Kroll) is the crazed party guy of the group and invites another one of HIS friends named Greg (Brett Gelman), a motor mouthed party boy, to liven up things. Craziness ensues, but under the guise of said craziness, a very sobering line of pain and sadness bonds the males together despite their personal tragedy.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81225[/img]“Joshy” is absolutely NOTHING like what I expected. That carries both good AND bad connotations. Middleditch and his crew of indie friends have crafted together a comedy that doesn’t rely on gross gags or stupidity to make you smile. In fact there really isn’t much smiling to be had during the film. They always say that most true comedians make their funniest gags from some of the most painful experiences in their life. That theory is taken to the next level in “Joshy” with most of the humor coming from deep wells of sadness. The best points of the film are not the craziness that the guys get into, but rather watching them bond over the simplest things, and work through their pain. I won’t go so far as to say that “Joshy” portrays the RIGHT way to deal with loss and pain, but rather that it is a very HUMAN way. The titular character has just suffered the loss of a loved one, and the entire premise of the movie is the group of guys getting together and trying to have fun despite the giant elephant in the room. It’s sad, heartbreaking in fact, but harshly realistic and can bring a light smile to the face at the antics the boys go to in order to shunt that pain off their own shoulders for a short time.
I said that “Joshy” is the who’s who of the indie world and that is probably the most accurate statement I can make about the movie. Everyone from Alison Brie, Middleditch, Adam Pally, Nick Kroll, Lauren Graham, Paul Reiser, Aubrey Plaza, Jenny Slate, Brett Gelman, the list goes on. I was especially impressed with Nick Kroll. He usually goes out of his way to play the crazy lunatic, but this time he was rather constrained. While he was the “party” guy, he has a sense of humanity and compassion to his roll that was refreshing. I was also shocked with Alison Brie’s short few minute of screen time. She has been typecast as the adorably cute, but overly sexual “hot girl” for several years, and it was nice (albeit sad) to see her step out of her wheelhouse and shock the audience with a suicidal young girl. Everyone gets along quite awkwardly in the film, but that is actually kind of the point. Nothing is NORMAL about this encounter at all, and the awkwardness and tension makes the characters that much more believable more than anything.
As much as I loved certain portions of the film and really liked the concept and interactions, there are a few flaws. Mainly due to the fact that the uncomfortableness of the subject and the desire to make it a dark comedy didn't always mesh together well. There are some VERY poignant and heartbreaking elements in the film, but so many of the characters were just kind of unlikable, or at least UNENJOYABLE that it cast a shadow over the hijinks, almost nullifying the fun OF the hijinks. The best way to describe the film is depressing, and not in a that sort of enlightening way. It is a slice of life experience out of one person's weekend and while that makes for some great storytelling, it is really hard to enjoy that experience as much as one would like.
Rated R for drug use and language throughout, sexual content/nudity and a disturbing image.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81233[/img]I couldn’t find out what cameras were used to create Joshy’s look, but I’ve heavily leaning towards digital cameras (a duh in the age of Indie films really) and the resulting picture is quite decent. Bathed in light golden overtones with a tinge of teal, “Joshy” comes to Blu-ray with a very satisfactory video encode that manages to feel warm and almost film like, and not at all digitally “glossy”. Colors are well saturated, if not a little less “bright” than I would have expected, and the black levels remain strong without too much crush coming into the picture. Intimate details such as clothing and furniture around the hangout pad are well done, and while there is some mild softness to the image, it’s nothing that really gets in the way of enjoying the film. A solid overall presentation that just works.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81241[/img]It doesn’t take a genius to guess what type of audio mix the indie comedy is going to have. A handful of guys in a hangout pad and lots and lots of dialog. Yup, a very front heavy mix that relies on said dialog for a majority of the heavy lifting. Vocals are crisp and cleanly replicated without any balance issues or fluctuations in the dialog level. Surrounds get a very mild workout with things like the bubbling of the hot tub, or the occasional sound of a car pulling up to the house, but for a majority of the time they really are rather silent. LFE is in the same boat the surrounds. There’s a few moments of boisterous activity, or the sound of something falling to the floor, but mainly this is a dialog centric experience that focuses on the front sound stage. “Joshy’s” 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is not wild ride of excitement, but the mix is well done and everything that is NEEDED of it is done with simple enthusiasm.
• Audio commentary with director/writer Jeff Baena, producer/actor Adam Pally and actor Thomas Middleditch
“Joshy” is a bit of an interesting pill to swallow. Based entirely on a horrific incident that was in NO way funny, the movie is poignantly sweet and light hearted in the way that it approaches the horrific aftermath of having to deal with someone’s suicide. The film doesn’t try to portray the healing aspects of the trip as being the RIGHT way to deal with the crisis, but rather to show what happens to a group of people when they are forced to deal with their male emotions on their own. A situation that is almost alien to them, and to watch them struggle to actually cope with it in any meaningful way. Whether or not it actually ends up enjoyable will highly depend on your love of the indie/mumblecore genre and the gallows humor applied by Middleditch and crew. Definitely divisive, but all together intriguing, “Joshy” is a fascinating, if not slightly unstructured film that is at least worth a good watch.
Starring: Lauren Graham, Adam Pally, Thomas Middleditch
Directed by: Jeff Baena
Written by: Jeff Baena
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 93 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 4th 2016
Buy Joshy On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Solid Rental
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