Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Sh*thouse

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Copyright: IFC Films

House parties were the glory days of youth. A fountain of knowledge spouting babbled insights in-between dry heaves and cigarettes, sprawled out on the floor of some poor soul’s garden in the middle of a residential area. Music loud enough to engage the displeasure of neighbours, but never the full action that comes with such disapproval. They were young once, merry and free under a night filled with Dexys Midnight Runners and Soft Cell. No longer, they seethe in their homes, twiddling their thumbs and staring, mouth open, at their television. Partying is a thing of the past, but Sh*thouse clings to the memories of American frat parties with all the grace of a dying swan.

Frat parties aren’t proper parties. They’re not necking bottles of Heineken in some damp field, wishing they could go home but not leaving out of social embarrassment. Americans have the luxury of crashing at some dude’s place, true party-goers of English culture passed out in tents, or in my case, a shed with a couch in it. Those were the days, and Sh*thouse looks to capture segments of the glory days. It gets nowhere close, the amalgamations of drunk side characters and potential romantic leads are thick and fast throughout, none of them coming close to being worthwhile or emotionally compelling.

Mopey, upset characters mingle with one another in a futile attempt at meeting someone they’re destined to toil through their miserable existences with. Cheap comedy pops, writing that thinks itself smarter than it could ever hope to be, all the hallmarks of a sloppy project. No part becomes inherently likeable, Cooper Raiff’s leading role and directing choices have room to grow, but he has no desire to push himself or his crew. Static, you’d be better off experiencing these moments for yourself. Prepare for disappointment, the starry-eyed prose Raiff looks to offer is neither accurate or truthful. It is nonsense that bends cliché and primitive desires to its needs. Accuracy isn’t important for a comedy, but if there’s no humour in sight with the grounded attempts of character-driven comedy, then there’s no point to it at all.

A generic house party, full of all the American signals and shapes, attempting all forms of comedy it can but never maturing to appease an audience that have matured from sex and drink jokes. Charmless, annoying, and consistently grating in its free-flowing attitude to the party lifestyle Americans have attempted to adopt as their own. As faux as that may be, Sh*thouse is, as the first four letters of its title would suggest, just that.