Review–How To Get Laid

How To Get Laid (2011)

Length: 15 min

Genre: Comedy

Director: Nik Perleros

Stars: Chris BellEric Riedmann, Ray Tagavilla, Bhama Roget, Roy Stanton

Writers: Nik Perleros, Wes Andrews, Paul Danielson

Producer: Art-Rash

How To Get Laid is the story of three very different, yet equally feckless douchebags trying to get laid on a typical Saturday night. It’s preposterous, ridiculous, a little surreal, and right up my alley.

The opening credits start with a slick, beautiful sequence of various cocktails igniting and breaking in slow motion. I love it when a film maker takes the time to engage me in the opening credits, but the slick, art-house beauty of the sequence is a ruse. Things are about to get douchey. Very douchey.

Our three intrepid douchebags decry their prospects for getting laid tonight, each in their own unique way. They address us directly, in a combination of asides and soliloquies. Wes, the sensitive poet, reminisces about a cute girl he met at a poetry reading. Nick, all party boy bravado says, “We needed a spot with women that blew our balls out, not a bunch of neo-folk hipsters with a fetish for bumming my Camel Crushes.”

But Paul, the intellectual, takes the cake with his diatribe: “I’ve never seen so many pseudo-bohemian losers prattling on about intellectual subjects it was obvious they had no real clue about. For the first half hour, it was essentially an exercise in lowering myself to pedestrian conversation.”

The three doucheketeers sit and wax eloquent on the various degrees of foliage that they enjoy on the female of the species. Wes prefers a woman with a “full dinner salad.”

Paul replies, “You are the ultimate vegetarian poster boy. Even your names for pussy are vegetables.”

Nick goes into a routine (complete with pantomime) about how when a man is performing cunnilingus it can seem like one is looking in a mirror, since the mouth and vagina look so similar in that circumstance. A ‘vagina-mouth’, if you will.

Then the douche triad spies the perfect woman in a fire-red dress: Joanna, the waitress. They try to charm her, but all Joanna wants from them is ‘yayo’–or cocaine, for those of us unfamiliar with drug lingo. The first one to secure the yayo will gain entrance to the pearly gates of her vagin. (Pronounced VAH-JEEEN.)

Our intrepid douchebags attempt to secure said yayo, each in their own individual, douchey fashion. Wes simply walks around and asks people if they know what yayo is, and Nick has a hilarious interchange with two women where he tries to get the point across by  launching into a string of euphemisms for cocaine: “Are you holding it down? The fuzzy? Brain detergent? Charlie Sheen’s sneakers? Tommy LaSorta’s diet? Renee Zellweger?” The women stare at him blankly, and I can’t stop laughing.

Paul approaches a boutique drug dealer, The Chemist, played by a deliciously bizarre Roy Stanton. I’m tipping my hand here, but I’ve had a massive man-crush on Roy since he played T’von, the half-Vulcan, half-Romulan counselor in Star Trek Phoenix. The Chemist convinces Paul to purchase ‘blur’, a drug hand made by The Chemist himself from “equal parts oxycontin, ritalin, and viagra, cooked in a reduction of RC cola and dried in a tiny brass pan made for poaching quail eggs.” Paul loses his mind on the blur and engages in an epic battle on the dance floor with a ‘dancing light fairy.’

Nick is interrupted by Wes, who asks the women forthrightly, “Do you have any yayo?” Nick loses his shit on Wes for ruining his game, grabs his hipster beard and says,

“Do you need a tampon for that?”

“I don’t have a vagina mouth,” Wes wimpers. This exchange causes Wes to weep, and run to the  bathroom, where he has an existential crisis of epic proportions. He curses the muse, the fates, and the nihilistic pointlessness of it all whilst cradling the porcelain goddess.

As the party ramps up, one of the women finally agrees to get Nik some coke. She leaves for the bathroom. Joanna the waitress follows her. Joanna is actually a drug enforcement officer. As she arrests the woman, Nick walks in and thinks he is witnessing a female  ’coke orgy’ (his words). Meanwhile, Paul has lost his battle with the dancing light fairy–and his consciousness. Wes achieves self-actualization while sitting on the toilet by engaging in deep breathing excercises and hatha meditation. Nick piles on to what he thinks is a female coke orgy and gets kicked in the face by Joanna, the undercover cop.

Lights out.

As the short wraps up, each of our feckless douchebags is alone and dealing with the aftermath of the night: Paul is in a pool of his own vomit on the street, Wes has lost his car keys and has to walk it, and Nick is in the back seat of a cop car. None of them are going to get laid. Actually, one of them does,  but not in the way he wanted. I won’t ruin the surprise for you.

How to get laid is hysterical and chock full of gags, one-liners, bits, and smart, douchey humor. Not every bit works, and some of them I can see coming, but I can’t get enough.  The way hipster culture is skewered here is inspired, spot on, and painfully specific.

Addressing the camera and playing with the fourth wall is a great device and lends a surreal, wacky feel to the short. However, the device works a little unevenly. There is not always enough of a distinction between the ‘real’ world and the ‘aside’ world of adressing the camera. Sometimes I’m confused as to which ‘world’ I am in at a given moment. This is an exremely difficult device to pull off, everything has to line up perfectly: the acting, the direction, and even the editing. If only one of those things is off by the slightest degree it will ring false, and it does in a few places. That being said, they did a game job of it.

Eric Reidman, who plays Nik with an outrageous playboy energy, is at his best when he is simply riffing and jiving. His acting can’t quite compete with the honest, manic improvising. Who cares? He’s hilarious.

Chris Bell is fantastically wan and fey as Wes, the consummate, angst ridden hipster. I want to crochet him a hemp fiber sweater and give him a hug. Chris has a little trouble with the fourth-wall device. He hits it instinctively, but it’s just a little inconsistent.

Paul is played perfectly by Ray Tagavilla. Ray is spot on, embodying every bit of the abortive, pseudo-intellectual superiority that is the essence of Paul. Ray is the only actor that nails the fourth-wall device in every scene.

Bhama Roget is plenty hot enough to play the ‘it’ girl, Joanna, but it wasn’t quite a perfect fit at first. Partially because of that, and also due to difficulties with the fourth-wall device, the scene where Joanna meets the douchebags for the first time is the weakest of the film.  I expect that Joanna would need to fulfill the fantasies of all three douchebags by her very aspect, being, and existence for her character to ring true, but it doesn’t quite play or read well enough.  Why is she so nutty? What the hell is she up to? She only seems to be a fantasy girl for Nik, but Wes and Paul are equally enamored. Once the ball breaking cop persona comes out it is on like Donkey Kong and I know who she is and why she is there, but until then, I’m a little put off by her.

As I mentioned, the fourth-wall device is weakest in this scene, it’s just not done well enough here. Are they addressing me, or each other? Altogether the scene was a little muddy, but the moment Wes starts reciting a poem for Joanna I forget all about it. Holy Christ, could Wes be a bigger douche canoe!?

How To Get Laid made me laugh like a moron. It’s a crass, lewd, smart-as-a-whip douche fest. This film does what many independent film makers forget to do: entertain their audiences. When are we going to get it through our thick indie skulls that audiences do not want to see us ritualistically disembowel our entrails in a paean to art school angst and pretension up on the silver screen? They want to be entertained.

I was entertained by How To Get Laid.

My douchey rating:

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