The title Douchebag is the equivalent of the old “Sex—do I have your attention?” joke. There’s little spectacular, memorable or original about Drake Doremus’ indie-com, save one character’s epic nest of a red beard and one of the briefest lengths of any modern film released theatrically—66 minutes before the end credits.
A bromance between literal bros, this slovenly Amerindie reunites two estranged siblings, one about to get married (Andrew Dickler), the other an unemployable “artist” who wasn’t even planning to make the short trip to the wedding (Ben York Jones). After some awkward time, the two are off on a road trip to locate Jones’ fifth-grade girlfriend.
But which one’s the titular jerkoff? In an admittedly clever twist, it winds up not to be Jones’ mysterious manchild, who turns out to be more shy than freak, but the ostensibly more stable Dickler. Despite his calm mien, he’s suffering a premarital nuclear meltdown and spends the trip hitting on chicks, encouraging bad behavior in Jones and showing no interest in going home. Dickler, one of the film’s four writers, is an appealingly obnoxious presence and does most of the heavy lifting while Jones remains an inscrutably impenetrable presence—a bit of a problem, since the film clearly seeks to coast on banter.
Though the target seems to be copycat Lynn Shelton (Humpday), the improv, save occasionally Dickler, never proves inspiring, and the film has little to say about male relationships, much less relationships at all. At least it’s short, playing like a SXSW player ruthlessly hacked down—the requisite third-act shift toward light drama and unearned pathos is over in 10 minutes rather than 20. That it’s still long at just over an hour means it should have been shorter still.