Since graduating four years ago, Michael (Charlie Tahan) hasn’t really done very much with his degree. His girlfriend Amy (Sarah Mezzanotte) left and moved to New York nine months ago and Michael now spends his nights driving the college campus bus, known as the “drunk bus”. The bus drives in a loop around Kent, Ohio, picking up and dropping off the students as they get increasingly drunk, rowdy and abusive throughout the night. Michael is stuck in a rut – still pining for Amy and unable to break the monotonous loop that is his life.
After receiving a punch to the face one night from a drunk passenger, the bus Michael is driving is assigned a security guard in the form of Pineapple (Pineapple Tangaroa), a big, burly Samoan, covered in tattoos and piercings. Initially wary of the intimidating security guard, Michael and Pineapple soon strike up a friendship, with Pineapple assuming the role of mentor, determined to make Michael’s life that more fun.
The first half of Drunk Bus is a lot of fun and I’ll admit that I laughed hard on more than one occasion, usually down to some crude toilet humour involving drunk students. Confined to the battered old drunk bus each night gives us a chance to get to know some of the recurring characters who board the bus each night – from students Justin and Kat to FU Bob, a grumpy old man in a wheelchair who responds to every question with a middle-finger and a “F**k you”. Will Forte also stars as Michael’s boss, heard over the bus radio as he dishes out useless advice to Michael and plays practical jokes on him.
Pineapple’s appetite for adventure eventually rubs off on Michael and the second half sees Michael starting to venture outside of his comfort zone a little – letting Pineapple drive the bus while he attends a party, confronting his relationship with Amy and contemplating life outside of the campus loop. I felt that this section of the movie didn’t work quite so well but still it never manages to avoid being funny or entertaining for very long.
Drunk Bus is the first feature from directors John Carlucci and Brandon LaGanke and writer Chris Molinaro and for a movie that’s mostly set at night in a bus, they’ve done an impressive job. Everyone involved gives a believable and enjoyable performance and I had a lot of fun watching it.
Blue Finch Film Releasing presents Drunk Bus on Digital Download 24 May
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