MRR Review: "Someone Marry Barry"

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Three friends plot to get rid of their socially inappropriate friend by finding him a wife, but when he meets a woman just like him, their problems double.
3

Rating: NR
Length: 87 minutes
Release Date: February 7, 2014
Directed by: Rob Pearlstein
Genre: Comedy

"Someone Marry Barry" centers on the far from politically correct, and nearly always obnoxious, Barry Burke, played by Tyler Labine. The film's opening sequence starkly sets out Barry's boorish nature and the manner in which his behavior affects the lives of his closest male chums. Within the first few minutes of the flick, moviegoers see Barry deliver a shockingly improper eulogy at the funeral of one of his friend's fathers. He causes the firing of a second friend after he makes crude comments about the boss' daughter. He also manages to cause a third friend's fiancée to call off the wedding after Barry is caught pleasuring himself to a photo of the woman.

The three men most affected by Barry's untoward ways devise a scheme they think will reel the fellow in and end his bad conduct. They embark on a mission to find Barry a woman, with the ultimate objective of getting the man married. With a character like Barry, the search for a significant other proves easier said than done.

Tyler Labine, as Barry, plays slovenly and crude to full effect. He does have an acting challenge. The screenplay calls for him to be utterly appalling in his conduct. Nonetheless, he also must manage to make his character likable. He succeeds by leaving the audience not necessarily rooting for change but pulling for Barry to find a woman who understands him.

The three friends, those seemingly most significantly effected by Barry's bad behavior, try everything from obtaining a mail order bride to packing Barry off for a try at speed dating. The speed dating sequence is a point in the movie when Labine particularly shines and in which laughs come in rapid-fire fashion. Suffice it to say, based on the movie's premise, Barry manages to offend each of his speed dating connections in uniquely crude ways.

The three friends are well played by Damon Wayans, Hayes MacArthur and Thomas Middleditch. The three actors instinctively understand that, on some level, they are part of an ensemble within the larger production. They perform well as an acting unit, each of the three men playing well off one another.

Much to the chagrin of his three primary male companions, Barry ultimately finds a woman on his own, in the character of Melanie Miller, played at a good pitch by Lucy Punch. The couple initially hooks up when they each are abandoned by their respective dates at the same bistro. ("The Office's" Ed Helms has an amusing cameo as Melanie's date, a bright, albeit brief, appearance in the movie.)

Melanie proves to be the female version of Barry. As these formulaic "buddy flicks" tend to go, rather than solve their problems by getting Barry involved with a "nice woman," Barry's three buddies actually magnify their problems, times two. This is exemplified from the moment Barry and Melanie meet, sharing their mutual fondness for expelling gas.

Initially cutting her teeth on the London stage, Punch is particularly adept at accomplishing the task of creating a generally likable, yet entirely rude and crude, character. There is a vivaciousness in her screen presence that smoothes, to a degree, the sharper edges associated with her character's own untoward behavior.

Director and screenwriter Rob Pearlstein is no stranger to flicks like "Someone Marry Barry." His objective in "Someone Marry Barry" is to entertain, likely attempting to reach out to a male audience, particularly a younger one. There is a reason that some directors follow recognized formulas in their films. Formulas work, and many times they work well. The only real blip in "Someone Marry Barry" is when Pearlstein injects some sentimentality between Barry and Melanie. With that noted, the diversion from the comedic stream was minimal and actually necessary given the cinematic arc of the production.

The screenplay itself, while necessarily predictable considering the nature of the movie, is filled with lively humor. Pearlstein clearly understands comedic timing in scripted form and how to take a screenplay and convey his ultimate vision to actors through his companion role as director.

Despite a multitude of roadblocks along the way, "Someone Marry Barry" ends on a positive note. Barry finds love. Melanie finds love. Barry's friends, although not necessarily directly through their own machinations, solve some (but not all) of their persistent problems with their buddy. Barry doesn't completely transform. He remains bawdy but demonstrates a bit more understanding regarding the sensibilities of others.

An ideal flick for a guy's night out, "Someone Marry Barry" also works in ways that make it appealing to a broader audience. Entertainment is the foundation of this film, as opposed to conveying an inspiring message. With the objective of the movie in mind, "Someone Marry Barry" succeeds.

Rating: 3 out of 5