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  • Nate Adams

Review: Painful 'Buddy Games' an abhorrent waste of time and talent

Courtesy of Saban Films


If you’re into scatological sight gags, female objectification, and Nick Swardson than “Buddy Games” might be a new instant classic. For anyone that has taste or, I dunno, morals, perhaps a film that’s best joke is a man getting shot in the testicles with a paintball isn’t a good fit. The movie, which marks the directing debut for actor Josh Duhamel, is an abhorrent waste of time and talent where those involved think it’s the funniest thing on planet earth, and audiences are left to question their sanity.

But seriously, how does Josh Duhamel, Dax Shepard, Kevin Dillion, Dan Bakkedahl, Oliva Munn, and James Roday Rodriquez collaborate to make something this unfunny? It’s a conundrum that will die in Redbox’s across the country where unrented copies live out the remainder of their days. And can we stop employing Nick Swardson? I doubt anyone with a brain wants to watch the C-list comedian seduce senior citizens for money. Critics don’t have the luxury of turning off movies and this sequence occurs about 20 minutes into the film, and I implore you, dear reader, don’t subject yourself to such pain.

Sadly, there is a “story” which is basically an excuse for this group of friends to convene and attempt stunts the “Jackass” crew wouldn’t laugh at. In some weird, time honored tradition, the man known only as the Bobfather (Duhamel) has hosted an annual “Buddy Games” at his grandmother’s lakeside cottage. The stunts range from deadly paintball to picking up girls at bars before laxatives kick in. As of late, the games have taken a hiatus due to reigning champ Shelly (Bakkedahl) losing both his testicals. But to reclaim his old glory, Bob, who is now a multimillionaire in a committed relationship with Tiffany (Munn), decides to reinstate the games with a grand prize of $150k. Munn, to her credit, has about five minute of screentime yet has top billing on all marketing materials. 

From there, you know where things are headed and it’s a bummer that Duhamel decided to make “Buddy Games” his first foray into directing. Sure, the premise is simple enough, but it doesn’t get to show his strengths behind the camera. Aside from displaying grown men getting pelted with paintballs in slow motion  or shot in the chest with arrows, there’s not much here to champion. Then again, a film like “Buddy Games” isn’t trying to offer metaphorical allegories on life, but I do expect to laugh and the constant physical humor offered little reprieve. Do you know the number one sign of how unfunny a movie is? The filmmakers throw a gag reel over the closing credits to trick audiences into thinking they did laugh. Fortunately, most folks should sniff out this dud before then. 

Grade: F

BUDDY GAMES opens in select theaters Friday November 20th before a digital release Tuesday, November 24th.


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