25th Jul2014

‘Don Peyote’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Dan Fogler, Anne Hathaway, Jay Baruchel, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel, Annabella Sciorra, Wallace Shawn, Dean Winters, Sean Brosnan | Written and Directed by Michael Canzoniero, Dan Fogler


Stoner comedy Don Peyote tells the story Warren Allman, an unemployed graphic novelist who finally finds a purpose in life after an unpleasant encounter with a homeless man preaching the end is near. Fueled by vivid apocalyptic dreams, Warren becomes obsessed with 2012 doomsday theories and decides to make a documentary on the subject while his fiance is busy planning their wedding.

Seemingly a labour of love for co-writer, co-director and star Dan Fogler, Don Peyote plays out like a wannabe Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, only without any of the style and visual flare of Terry Gilliam. I can certainly see why Fogler would want to produce such a movie – after all the majority of his most famous roles see him playing the “fat funny sidekick” to whomever is playing the lead – yet here he takes centre stage, really showing his versatility as an actor. Only, even as I fan of Fogler, I kind of wish he’d left this particular tale on the shelf.

Self-indulgent to the point of being obnoxious, the film is packed with cameos from Fogler’s friends, many of whom were apparently given free reign with their performances – and it shows! The dialogue feels at all times like it was totally made up on the spot – I wouldn’t go as far as saying improvised as that would give the film some kudos (something it shouldn’t have).

If Don Peyote has anything going for it, it’s the complete lack of genre conventions. The film blends and bends genres at every turn. Comedy, drama, mystery… the film even has an over the top musical number thrown in for good measure. But don’t let that raise your expectations any, the film is still boring and frustrating where it should be funny and interesting.

But hey, it could just be that the audience needs to be as stoned as the films central character to find the humour in Fogler and co’s ad-libbed snore-a-thon. Maybe Don Peyote wasn’t made for a tee-totaller like myself, but then it’s hard to like any film that seems like its more of an in-joke between filmmaking friends than an actual movie…

Don Peyote is released digitally (via iTunes) on August 4th, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.


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