19th Oct2018

Movies You May Have Missed: ‘Crash Pad’

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to the latest installment in our regular Movies You May Have Missed series here on Nerdly, in which I highlight some of, what I think, are the best movies that have flown under the radar of many or have been “forgotten” in the intervening years since its release. This time round its the ridiculous comedy Crash Pad, which has been dumped directly onto VOD services here in the UK…

crash-pad-poster

Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Thomas Haden Church, Christina Applegate, Nina Dobrev | Written by Jeremy Catalino | Directed by Kevin Tent

Official Synopsis:

Stensland (Domhnall Gleeson), a hopeless romantic, thinks he’s found true love with an older woman (Christina Applegate), only to learn that she’s married and their encounter was merely an instrument of revenge against her neglectful husband (Thomas Haden Church). Initially out for blood, the husband finds himself strangely sympathetic to the romantic’s plight. He decides the best way for the two of them to get revenge is by moving in together, cutting her out and living a bachelor’s life.

My Thoughts:

Indie comedies, well GOOD indie comedies, have become something of lost art in Hollywood. Back in the early 2000s, following the explosion of American Pie and inspired by the films of Richard Linklater, there seemed to be an abundance of similar “adult” comedies (100 Girls, Juno, Junebug, Wet Hot American Summer) that mixed traditional rom-com tropes with gross-out comedy cliches. In the intervening years the gross-out comedy morphed into more ridiculous territory with films like The 40-Year Old Virgin and Zack & Miri Make a Porno, with Judd Apatow’s brand of adult humour becoming more the norm. Which is why Crash Pad is so refreshing, in a “throwback” kind of way… In fact discovering this reminded me very much of discovery the likes of the aforementioned 100 Girls in the local video store – a film that has since become one of my favourites of the genre.

Unceremoniously dumped to digital platforms, Crash Pad is the kind of film I feel excited to have given a chance. Browsing iTunes has, recently, become something akin to the video store experience of old – with poster after poster tempted audiences to click through to the synopsis. Thankfully in this day and age we also get the chance to check out a trailer, or perhaps a few minutes from the film if no trailer was ever made for it (surprisingly more often than not, given the state of the digital download market). Which is how I came across Crash Pad; the appearance of Thomas Hayden Church (in name and appearance) that grabbed my attention initially: his role in Easy A being one of my favourites. Then it was that tagline. Which suggested something a little different to the norm; and that was exactly what I got.

It’s certainly weird seeing Domhnall Gleeson in this particular role, especially since he’s probably more well known these days for his hard-faced villainous role as General Hux in the new Star Wars. Here his character is the polar opposite – pathetic, lacking confidence and something of a pushover. That’s how he gets into this situation in the first place: at first he’s walked over by Christina Applegate’s character, who uses him for a one night stand; then he’s walked over by her husband (Thomas Hayden Church), who ingratiates himself into not only Stensland’s home but also his life. It’s also something of a role-reversal in terms of characterisation… Stensland, in another cinematic universe, would be a woman: in so much that the character mopes around, is addicted to watching tapes (yes, tapes!) of Dawson’s Creek and crying about his love life, or lack thereof. A few years ago this would have been the problems of a woman who couldn’t find a man to date long-term. Thankfully this switching up of genders adds an extra layer of laughs to the comedy. Stensland is also very much the “loser best friend” trope – but instead of the best friend, he’s the “hero” of this film. It’s Thomas Haden Church’s husband that’s the loser, even though his lifestyle says otherwise.

What Crash Pad does VERY successfully is capture that indie rom-com aesthetic but infuse it with a Richard Linklater-esque “slacker” mentality. It’s the kind of film that was very prevalent in the early 2000s but has since died a death – which means this is a very welcome addition to streaming services: even if that’s at the expense of a physical release!

Where to Find It:

Crash Pad is currently only available where it debuted last September, online at various VOD and SVOD outlets such as iTunes.

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