You gawk. You gape. You wonder what the Hell Hulu was thinking.
But hey, if Netflix and Amazon are going to push the envelope in “teens behaving badly” comedies, go big or go home, right?
Thus, “The Binge,” a sipping and gulping, smoking and snorting comedy riff on “The Purge.” Nobody imbibes, consumes, pops, smokes or pops any more. Except for one day a year. Hilarious idea.
And here’s Vince Vaughn, resurrecting the manic, profane patter that put him on the map before he aged out of “hipster” and came out of the closet as a Trumpster.
Is that really Morgan Freeman providing voice-over narration, “Binge” history about “a despondent” America, “self-medicating” to the point where a near Prohibition was enacted? Probably
Skyler Gisondo (“Booksmart,” “Feast of the Seven Fishes”) and Dexter Darden (“The Maze Runner” movies) play two BFFs who will indulge in their first Binge since each turned 18.
Maybe Griffin (Gisondo) will “drink enough to make a move” on the lovely, pals-since-childhood Lena (Grace Van Dien of “Lady Driver”). That’s Hags’ (Darden) biggest, bestest hope. Because Brown U.-bound Griffin is entirely too shy to ever have the guts to shy his true feelings otherwise.
Maybe a little alcohol — a LOT of alcohol — will give him the edge over the anonymous fellow who left a “prom date” invitation in Lena’s locker.
If only they can escape their parents’ annual root beer “Goats” and games party. If only they can get wrist bands into the hot party of the night, “The Gauntlet” drinking game championships at the Carnegie Library.
Odd detail, that one.
If ONLY Lena can pull one over on her dad, the “Don’t Binge” obsessed city councilman and principal if American High School.
“Go FLAMING Eagles!”
That would be the role Vince Vaughn (“Wedding Crashers”) plays, rah rah principal.
“Animaniacs” veteran Jordan VinDina wrote the script, which toys with the myths that high school kids invent about drugs and booze before they’ve ever had a taste of them. Exaggerate that into a future when nobody drinks and kids have even less access than now, when cheerleaders relate tales from “Sex and the City” as ancient history, and you get a lot of “I’ve heard…you know so-and-so says…My older cousin binged and” bad information.
“I heard that if you eat mushrooms and sacrifice an animal, your whole world turns into a musical!”
That theory will be put to the test over a night-long quest for the boys — with long-abandoned friend Andrew (Eduardo Franco of “Booksmart”) in tow — to reach that “Gauntlet” party, where Lena hangs out waiting, and her dad, Principal Carlsen, threatens and punches his way through town trying to find her.
How do Griffin and Hags get out of their parents’ party? They put them to sleep, or rather Hags does.
“You ROOFIED our parents?”
Who gives them a lift to the drunken ball at the Carnegie? Limo driver Pompano Mike (Tony Cavalero), who’s not really from Pompano Beach, “I just like to live my life in a Florida state of mind.”
Mike’s blasted, and he knows the nickname for every drug in popular use at the moment — a little PCP on your pot?
“Dragon’s Breath, cheese tacoes, chicken tamales, Hip Hip Hooray, Monkey Punch, Deuces Wild, Pirates Booty, Toledo, Nuts a Bnuch, (Bridge) to Terabithia.”
There aren’t many laughs, although I chuckled at the “first ever drink of alcohol” (whisky, a mistake), kids frantically sucking down ketchup to put out the fire.
The drinking games of “The Gauntlet” contest include “Cocaine Scarface,” in which contestants snort a mountain of the stuff and do Al Pacino impressions every time they come up for air.
“The only ting een this world that gives orders…ees balls.”
The human chalupa punishment the kids faced — duct-taped together like “a Tootsie Roll,” is um, different.
And let’s not forget the song and dance sequence.
“We’re gonna get high, we’re gonna get baked
“Until every inch of us just aches!”
Vaughn resurrects his staccato speaking style, the kids are generic and dull — save for Franco, who deadpans some laughs into play.
The whole affair is just nuts, staggeringly irresponsible. No, a montage of “Just say no” public service announcements at the outset doesn’t excuse it.
It’ll be a chore, just keeping your kids from sneaking around to watch it.
Alcohol and narcotic content be damned, it’s fine. Kids can figure out it isn’t that funny call on their own.
MPAA Rating: unrated, drug and alcohol abuse, profanity
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Skyler Gisondo, Dexter Darden, Grace Van Dien, Eduardo Franco, Zainne Saleh and Esteban Benito
Credits: Directed by Jeremy Garelick, script by Jordan VanDina. A Hulu release.
Running time: 1:38