WEIRDSVILLE directed by Allan Moyle, written by Willem Wennekers, with Scott Speedman and Wes Bentley. An Equinoxe Films release. 90 minutes. Opens Friday (October 12). Rating: NNN
Scott Speedman and Wes Bentley roll into the hotel bedroom with ready smiles and still rubbing sleep from their eyes. They're in a small, crowded space, but they flow around each another with the unconscious ease of long-time friends.
Which is what they play in Allan Moyle's Weirdsville, a very funny and surprisingly smart stoner comedy about a pair of lifelong buddies who try to bury a dead girlfriend at the drive-in but end up chased by preppy Satanists, the local drug dealer and armed medieval midgets. Speedman as Dexter, the quiet one, and Bentley as Royce, the high-energy idea man, have terrific chemistry. They spark off each other like they've been doing it all their lives.
"We really got lucky," says Speedman. "We were cast separately and met up in a hotel room here. I remember being really worried about it that day, because if it didn't fly, if we didn't have some kind of chemistry, it was going to be a tough movie to pull off."
"I have so much fun with this guy," adds Bentley. "We get along really well."
He then proceeds to curl up on the bed, saying he doesn't feel well.
"Don't worry about it," says Speedman. "Take a nap." Bentley nods and drifts off.
Among Weirdsville's weirder departures from the stoner buddy movie is that from time to time it takes the problem of addiction seriously.
"Oh yeah, that was tough. This is where I think Allan was a little wary of my performance at first. He thought it was a little too serious, but I thought that if we went too off the wall it wouldn't be a movie I wanted to make. But it's really not an issue-oriented movie I don't care what it said in the press release. We weren't trying to make a movie that was anti- or pro-drugs. It was just supposed to be a fun movie about a couple of real Canadian boys."
Director Allan Moyle knows a bit about drugs and Canadian boys. Shawinigan-born and McGill-educated, he wrote a pair of gutter classics, East End Hustle (1976) and The Rubber Gun (1977), which he also directed, before going to the U.S., where he directed a more mainstream classic, his biggest hit to date, 1990's Pump Up The Volume
"Allan's a zany, interesting, great guy," Speedman continues. "It took us a couple of days to get on the same page, and then anything was possible. The movie was pretty well scripted, so we'd do a bunch of takes and then Allan would ask for some last takes [he'd call] "the wild ones' or "one for the ladies.' We could go where we wanted, do what we wanted."
"We did a lot of improv. We just didn't use a lot of it," adds Bentley before rolling across the bed and melting onto the floor. Very graceful.
Speedman looks over, unconcerned. He's ordering breakfast. "What do you want?" he asks Bentley. "Never mind, I know what you want: cottage cheese and coffee."
Yep, they've got the buddy thing down pat.
WEIRDSVILLE (Allan Moyle) Rating: NNN
Here's a fast, funny farce with a jagged little bite, well worth watching.
A pair of junkie losers with a dead girlfriend to bury in a closed drive-in run afoul of blood-lusting Satanists and a violence-prone drug lord.
Sounds silly, but a sharp, cleverly structured script crammed full of unexpected complications and dialogue keeps it so engaging that even the armed medieval midgets seem perfectly reasonable.
Allan Moyle's crisp direction moves easily between knockabout laughs and serious moments about addiction and wasted lives, and provides a calculatedly sloppy visual style appropriate to both.
Scott Speedman and Wes Bentley as the wastoids bounce off each other like they've been doing it for years.