Slamdance 2018 Review: “Bernard and Huey” (2017) ★★★

Credit: © Eat Bug Films LLC

Today, there is so much content and so many films created, that it becomes a challenge to come up with a decent screenplay. One, that will touch subjects interesting for the adult viewer, choose a proper language to tell the story, and finally, keep it appealing to the audience. The most important thing, every element of the film should perfectly fit into the storyline. Written by a Pulitzer-Prize winner legendary Jules Feiffer and directed by Dan Mirvish, “Bernard and Huey” captures an interesting message – even the most damaged life can be fixed and brought get back to normal with the right ingredients. In this case, it is the friendship between Huey and Bernard, and both of them are about to undergo the most important transition in their lives.

The film follows its title characters – Bernard and Huey. They haven’t met for decades. Now, this meeting is about to complicate their lives quite a bit. Bernard is a divorcee, while Huey has reached an age when he is losing his best feature – being macho. Seems both of their reputations are beyond repair, and none of them have a chance to redeem in their own eyes. Yet, as it turns out, it is important to have one another to talk about what has gone wrong in their lives twenty-five years ago.

We first meet the characters through flashbacks. Young and good-looking Huey teaches shy and always hesitating Bernard how to be bold and fearless when dating women. Bernard is lacking confidence not only in personal life, where he believes nothing will change in the future but also considers himself a horrible writer. He is sure he’s doomed to fail. Does that attitude prevent him from making silly mistakes? Not when he has his best friend to rely on when it comes to building up a relationship.

An extra challenge comes up when Huey begins dating Zelda – Bernard’s only daughter. This does not help the two old friends to warm up their long-lost relationship or to try to have a conversation like adults. Although this sounds a bit dramatic, “Bernard and Huey” offers a humoristic approach about two grown-up men and what they are left within their lives. The entire cast delivers good performance. And in a film like this, if the actors don’t believe in their characters, there’s a big chance to fail and disappoint the viewer. David Koechner as Huey and Jim Rash as Bernard are funny and refreshing. Nancy Travis as Mona – another charismatic character, is magnetic and hilarious, especially in several particular scenes, which, I am sure, the viewer will not miss.

Overall, “Bernard and Huey” is a crowd pleaser. A smart and dynamic comedy, which might not be the best film ever produced in this genre, but definitely has the right to earn its own place under the sun in 2018. For many people, it will be amusing and timely. You see, certain things never get old, such as – to live the life to its fullest. But at the end of the day, it all will come to one certain point, where one has to decide – be or not to be. This is what Bernard and Huey must figure out.

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