[Review] Friended to Death

Do you ever have them nights where you’re sitting around, hanging with your boys Ben and Jerry, and question everything in your life? No? Oh yeah, me neither… Anyway, for those of you who may have, perhaps you thought about a lot of things, like “Why aren’t any of my friends texting me?” or “Should I order pizza too or is that too extreme?” Maybe you even thought deeper down into a dark place where you grow a curiosity for the hypothetical. In this state, you may have thought about death, but did it ever cross your mind to think about who would be at your funeral? Friended to Death, the latest dark comedy from Sarah Smick and Ian Michaels, tells the tale of a man who goes to extreme lengths via Facebook to find out. While it may not have been the most amazing comedy to be put on the market, I found an appreciation for the lighthearted nature of a topic that could be taken down an extremely serious route.

Friended to Death

Director: Sarah Smick

Rating: R

Release Date: May 2, 2014

Michael Harris (Ryan Hansen) is a ticket-crazy Los Angeles parking enforcement officer who is just as obsessed about posting his ticketing adventures on Facebook as he is about administering tickets. What seems like a perfect day for him turns into a downward spiral with unemployment and the loss of a very good friend. However, Michael isn’t the kind of guy to do nothing about this. With the help of  friend Emile (James Immekus), he creates an alter ego of sorts using Facebook, the one thing he trusts the most in order to gain back the attention of Joel (Zach McGowan), the friend who left him to bite the dust. For a man who seems to be extreme, it only seems appropriate that he would go to the length of faking his own death in order to see who actually cares about him.

 

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If you’re looking for a comedy that will keep you laughing out loud to the point where you can’t breathe and you regret buying popcorn because now you’re choking on that, you probably won’t get that out of this. Regardless, it should be kept in mind that that wasn’t the goal of this film. It’s very tounge-in-cheek, and I appreciate the cheesiness that emulates from it. With a character as ridiculous as Michael, it’s not something that is supposed to be taken seriously, and I think it is a nice way of bringing to light a big social media addiction that seems to be rising up around the world.

This was Sarah Smick’s first feature length directing gig, and I think that she was able to capture this character’s ridiculousness and antiheroism in a way that left you somewhat pitying and relating to him on a level. I think that’s a pretty impressive task considering not too many of us would go to the lengths this character did to pretend he is no longer alive. Talking about the cinematography, I think the colors are awesome. It’s a very vibrant, cinematic film, and it really does justice to adding to this 94 minute satire. No, you won’t see wild angles that have never been done before, but why would that be the point of making this anyway? I really think that the coloring of this contributed to this film in a very refreshing manner.

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While I thought that the film was nice in its lighthearted selections, there was a point in the film in which I was kind of twiddling my thumbs because I was almost too annoyed by this guy’s antics. It felt like he was going on with this for too long of a portion of the film. If there were to be improvements made, I would hope for a really big curveball that would seem impossible for him to get out of. This isn’t to say that I didn’t find enjoyment from watching how this all works out for Michael, but I think something needed to save me from my impatience.

Overall, I would definitely say that this film captured the light I was expecting to feel from it. Poking fun at the issues that many people are facing everywhere when it comes to social media and its addictive qualities, I would say it is just a film defending something I really like to rant about. I hope to see more from Sarah Smick and Ian Michaels as they create more movies, and I think they will only get better over time.

 

 

 

 

 

Mackenzie O'Brien

Mackenzie O’Brien is a Digital Cinema major with a concentration in Screenwriting at DePaul University. When she isn’t applying SPF 100+ to her translucent skin, she’s usually avoiding the sun’s fiendish ways by watching films, catching concerts, and (most importantly) writing.

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