Friday, 22 July 2011

Fifty Pills (2006)

A decent, if unspectacular, comedy that ends up feeling like some extended episode of “Undeclared” thanks to the cast of fresh faces and the number of quirky characters, Fifty Pills tries hard to be likeable and just manages it.

Lou Taylor Pucci is Darren, a young man who has just lost his college scholarship thanks to a party that was thrown by his roommate (drug-dealing Coleman, played by John Hensley). This is despite the fact that Darren wasn’t even there at the time. He is given a little bit of time by a sympathetic housing manager and Coleman gives him fifty pills, hence the title, that he should be able to sell at $20 each to earn the money he desperately needs to be able to stay on in college. And so Darren sets off on a quest to sell the pills, make the money and keep his life on track.

Director Theo Avgerinos and writer Matthews Perniciaro seem to be aiming for a hip, fun vibe but don’t get enough in the mix to make Fifty Pills anything more than a passable attempt to belatedly rife the coat-tails of Go. The script isn’t all that sharp and the direction isn’t all that stylish but, thankfully, the cast and characters do a lot to raise the whole thing up to a rating of just-above-average.

Pucci is okay, if a bit bland, in the main role, Hensley is as good as he so often is and the potential love interest comes in the form of a young Kristen Bell. Nora Zehetner is fun for her limited time onscreen, Eddie Kaye Thomas is hilarious, Michael Pena provides a few laughs and Monica Keena gets to have a lot of fun. The gorgeous Diora Baird is onscreen for less than a minute (sigh) and we get a few moments of magnificent scene-stealing from Jane Lynch and John Kapelos as Darren’s parents. 

It moves along briskly enough and tries hard to please but Fifty Pills is certainly not a movie that would be deemed unmissable. It is, however, worth 90 minutes of your time if it comes on and you have nothing else scheduled. 

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