SXSW 2018 Review: RELAXER

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

From Joel Potroykus, the filmmaker of Buzzard and The Alchemist Cookbook, comes another comedy that gives audiences a heaping serving of absurdity and weirdness.  Potroykus takes his audiences back to the year 1999, when many people in the world feared the unknown of Y2K.  His protagonist Abbie (Joshua Burge), however, has a more important challenge to face.  Abbie must remain seated on a sofa until he can beat the Pac Man record held by arcade champion Billy Mitchell.

Abbie honestly has nothing else going on his life, anyway.  He spends most of his time playing video games, sometimes while completing various challenges issued by his older brother Cal (David Dastmalchian).  Though Cal leaves him be while he begins the latest challenge.  Loads of other distractions, problems and obstacles are headed Abbie’s way.  Come hell, high water, or the apocalyptic Y2K, Abbie is determined to win.

Though I like the film overall with its hilarious premise, I feel that the film is not consistently funny and loses its momentum along the way.  The opening scene works well enough to set up the crazy challenge and is followed by a hysterical sequence featuring actor Andre Hyland that made me laugh the hardest during the screening.  I also enjoyed the performances by David Dastmalchian and star Josh Burge whose near sphinx-like performance definitely required some skill and finesse.  Though this probably is my least favorite film of the festival, I had some fun with it nevertheless.

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