• Nate Adams

Review: Hilarious black comedy 'The Climb' worth the hike


Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

There are numerous laugh out loud moments throughout Michael Angelo Covino’s dark comedy “The Climb” which features one terrific bromance. The first sequence has plenty worth chewing on, as the indie opens in France where two American best friends from childhood are cycling up a steep highway in the countryside. There’s the agile Mike (played by Covino) - who thinks highly of himself for spouting sophisticated bike terminology - and his out-of-shape pal Kyle (co-writer Kyle Marvin). Mike has strategically been waiting for a tough climb to get something off his chest: he’s been sleeping with Kyle’s fiancée. The results of said conversation aren’t exactly what you’d expect and at one-point Kyle picks up his bike to try and keep up. Slapstick blended with situational comedy has never looked so good.


“The Climb” (as a title) has an entirely different metaphorical meaning, chronicling the ups, downs, and shifting dynamics of Kyle and Mike’s peculiar friendship over the course of a decade. The minor specifics and attention to detail are so relatable that when a harmless fight breaks out at Thanksgiving, it can strike a nerve. 


Told in seven individual chapters, the second of which takes place at a funeral, the sprawling saga between Mike and Kyle is constantly shifting. At one point, Mike has gone off the deep end, putting on weight and diving into a bout of alcoholism; whereas Kyle is slimmer and seen nominal success writing commercial jingles for women Viagra commercials. 


It won’t shock audiences to learn that Covino and Rankin are best friends in real life, explaining how their palatable chemistry radiates not only in the script, but on camera too. They allot plenty of resources to the female leads too and credit given to the hilarious Gayle Rankin as Marissa, Kyle’s central love interest, who akin to most characters in the film, feels like we’ve known our whole life. Yes, “The Climb” swerves into different directions that might detract casual viewers, but the sharp screenplay will have you laughing, then crying, and probably laughing some more. It’s worth the hike. 


Grade: B+


THE CLIMB opens in select theaters November 13th. Including The Maple Theater in Detroit.


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