They really don’t make stoner comedies like they used to, do they? Not since Harmony Korine’s weed-fed romp The Beach Bum in 2019 the subgenre felt creatively revived, and sadly this trend towards mediocrity continues with the Machine Gun Kelly vehicle good mourning† While it somehow manages to stumble upon genuine moments of absurdist humor, the film is far too disorganized and uninspired to effectively exploit the rare comedic moments. Co-directed by Machine Gun Kelly (credited as Colson Baker) and fellow musician Mod Sun, good mourning lacks the fanbase allure and pandemic-induced creativity of the duo’s previous effort, last year Doom high† Perhaps most egregious is the film’s constant reliance on corny, Family man-style cut-away jokes – that somehow feel duller than Seth MacFarlane’s dead horse, now beaten for an excruciating 20th season.
London Clash (Machine Gun Kelly’s cheesy intra-movie name) is a budding Hollywood actor on the brink of a big opportunity. His agent Maxine (Whitney Cummings) got him a script for an upcoming Batman movie, but a text from his girlfriend Apple (Becky G) the morning of his meeting with the aspiring director shakes him up completely. “I wish I didn’t have to say this via text,” her first message read. It is shortly followed by a second text, which simply says “good grief.”
After looking up the definition for the word “mourn” itself, London realizes that this text might be a relationship broadcast. Paniced at the prospect of losing Apple, London ignores its… Batman duty to embark on a series of nonsensical escapades to track down his (potential ex) girlfriend and find out what exactly her ominous lyric is about. His various freeloading friends join him on this journey, with Mod Sun playing his blue-haired punk sidekick Dylan. The London maladroit cohort also includes Leo (rapper GaTa, who also stars as a fictionalized version of himself in Dave), Angel (Zach Villa), new assistant Olive (former Disney Channel star Dove Cameron), and lesbian roommate Kennedy (MGK’s real-life partner Megan Fox, is said to have inspired the film’s premise in the first place).
good mourningThe script is bland to the core, based on a plot so shabby that it struggles to carry the film over what should be a light-hearted 93 minute runtime. There is absolutely nothing compelling about the film’s characters, their motivations, or the results of their efforts. It really seems that the film was conceived as nothing more than a convenient excuse to have all of the filmmaker’s friends frolic in front of the camera. unfunny) observation. The idea of someone (and their entire extended group of friends) being funny enough to deserve an entire movie is just insufferable enough on their face. To make the subsequent film so decidedly unfunny, a superficial layer of psychological torment adds to that. In today’s barren wasteland that is the stoner comedy landscape, this laziness is nothing short of unforgivable.
While many of the players in good mourning familiar with acting on movie sets, it’s nevertheless clear that Machine Gun Kelly and Mod Sun were just looking for an excuse to fill every frame of their film with the faces of their friends – their respective talent and relevance to the story be damned. Most emblematic of the demise of this practice is the inclusion of rapper Trippie Redd, who was so obviously unable to memorize lines or portray a character that he simply appears on screen as himself, not even careful enough not to stare directly into the camera. (certainly that’s why his character wears dark sunglasses). In a movie where a plethora of recognizable pop culture characters play fictional characters—Amber Rose, Pete Davidson—Trippie Redd’s cameo feels like a friendly favor that could have easily been cut off. By contrast, Dennis Rodman and Avril Lavigne’s cameos may not be skillfully executed in their comedic potential, but they add a sassy touch that’s much more rooted in celebrity self-consciousness than self-indulgence.
At least, good mourning is the kind of movie that can rock you into stoned complacency. Through hazy thoughts of “Wait, who is that?” or “What just happened?”, you can be reassured by the fact that the lack of this information won’t affect your viewing experience in the long run. For a film so thoughtless and plodding, it only makes sense that audiences would put as little effort into watching it as the directors did to direct it. If you’re looking for an insignificant way to spend an hour and a half, good mourning features familiar faces wandering aimlessly through a worn-out plot — perfect for half-watching while checking IMDb to identify the plethora of celebrity faces fuzzy.
Directors: Colson Baker, Mod Sun
writers: Colson Baker, Mod Sun
stars: Colson Baker, Mod Sun, Becky G, Megan Fox, Dove Cameron, GaTa, Zach Villa, Jenna Boyd, Pete Davidson
Publication date: May 20, 2022 (Open Road Movies)
Natalia Keogan is a freelance film writer based in Queens, New York. Her work has been featured in Filmmaker Magazine, Paste Magazine and Blood Knife Magazine, among others. Find her on Twitter @nataliakeogan