“It’s the McKinley Mall, dude—not LA”
The concept of localized indie film carries with it the caveat of losing audience members who can’t understand references sprinkled throughout because they’ve never been to the locale. It’s a fine line filmmakers must toe when dealing outside the big city mentality of an NYC or LA and could potentially make or break a work’s chances to exist anywhere besides the Christmas stockings of families and friends. The story and characters need to be universal in order to transport viewers to its setting rather than hold them at arm’s length. And for a much-maligned city like Buffalo, NY, this couldn’t be truer since many will dismiss it sight unseen. It’s therefore with great pleasure to discover writer/director Matt Lorentz‘s B.O.Y.D. earns its slacker comedy label no matter where it was shot.
Populated with homegrown talent—many of which members of the Buffalo Sketch Comedy troupe—the film speaks to every twentysomething struggling to cope with adulthood. Single, stagnant, lazy, and entitled, Lenny (Kyle Scritchfield), Mitch (Christopher Scherr), and Mike (Christopher Brechtel) crash in a small apartment above their favorite watering hole if only to avoid strolling into their respective parents’ homes after nights leaving their veins with more alcohol than blood. Rolling out of bed around noon to get to work under two hours late, each begrudges their lot yet can’t find the humility to realize they’ve no one to blame but themselves. So when the group’s unfiltered loudmouth of a ringleader Judd (Christopher Marriott) returns to town with the proposition of a full day sans responsibility, they unsurprisingly comply.
Set against the backdrop of the August 14, 2003 blackout that ravaged the entire Northeast, B.O.Y.D.‘s circumstances allow for its quartet or immature lost boys to run wild. Their quest is to prematurely dig up the unknown titular acronym’s namesake five years before the pact they agreed upon—a task hopefully able to wake them to the fact their time to live is now. Mitch languishes in post-break-up depression after his fiancé left, Lenny drags his feet on the path to take over the family business despite his deceased mother wishing he’d finish college, and Mike looks to balance his stalled dream of becoming a filmmaker with the dead-end retail job he can’t afford to quit. The only things separating them from who they were in high school are a near decade of years and pounds along the way.
And while Judd proves to be the obnoxious puppet master still able to pull their strings, what first appears to be a selfish desire to rile up his friends and have a good time gets revealed as much more. We don’t know—nor ever find out—what Judd has been doing with his life besides waking up in fields with half naked women he doesn’t remember meeting, but it’s okay because he’s never painted as someone in need of answers. Where a weaker movie would reverse its entire focus to not shock us by showing the instigator needed the help all along, Lorentz sticks to his formula and lets his devilish conductor cajole the others into removing their heads from their asses. Judd has found freedom and he hopes to impart his wisdom on the rest.
Marked by witty, tongue-in-cheek dialogue about pop culture and the unimportant a la a Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino just cutting his teeth, laughter is unavoidable when conversations turn to whether sleeping with Wendy from Peter Pan is pedophilia or if Jason Voorhees is more bad ass than Freddy Kruger. Add in some timely quips hypothesizing that Ben Affleck‘s new film Gigli will break box office records and you’ll see Lorentz infusing his debut feature with an all-inclusive bid for nostalgia rather than Buffalo-based humor. In fact, besides a Buffalo Bills decal adorning the one’s bedroom door, I don’t think they or the Sabres are mentioned once throughout. B.O.Y.D. isn’t about Buffalo; it deals with Middle America and the disenfranchised youth searching for meaning in lives too young to yet find it.
Credit the team with enlisting local radio hosts Shredd and Ragan for authentic blackout radio coverage to bolster the archived television footage firmly placing us inside this memorable day devoid of electricity’s creature comforts. It’s one of many peripheral details enhancing the central story alongside an eccentric cast of supporting actors running the gamut from voices of reason to absolute absurdity. I guess I should have known the idea of “crapping one’s pants” wouldn’t be mentioned so often without payoff and its this crude humor that coalesces with the no-nonsense retorts of bartender Chuck (Richard Satterwhite), awkward ramblings of Old Man Bill (Robert Priest), and excrement aficionado Jay (Will Mutka). A carnie named Vasquez (Lori Bateman) and a new love interest in the cute Lena (Amber Small) add estrogen, but the end result is still a boy’s club of immaturity.
This is expected, though, as our leads prove to be quite the likeable bunch. The acting could be better in our main foursome—besides Marriott naturally channeling a hybrid of Seann William Scott and Vince Vaughn without a hitch—but this is to be expected in an ultra-low budget flick with a novice cast. Brechtel, Scritchfield, and Scherr each hit their stride once inhibitions dissolve and their characters’ frustrations turn into new leases on life and it’s a fun journey to see how they react to Judd’s manic poking and prodding. With shades of American Pie and a slew of other like-minded comedies, B.O.Y.D. won’t be wowing audiences by its originality, but no one should assume it will. Instead, Lorentz and company crafted a gem that will keep you laughing at and pulling for the guys onscreen who bear a striking resemblance to you and yours.
 Christopher Brechtel, Kyle Scritchfield, Chris Scherr and Christopher Marriott.
 Robert Priest, Richard Satterwhite and Kyle Scritchfield.
 Amber Small and Chris Scherr.
courtesy of Idle Entertainment.