It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Best Man Down" is billed as a "warm and funny comedy," a subjective description with which I do not agree. I would not consider this a comedy, let alone a warm and funny one. There are no laughs, and most attempts at humor are mean-spirited or embarrassing. The dramatic elements fare no better, as "Best Man Down" merges a road trip through northern Minnesota with a subplot about a 15-year-old girl forced by her drug-addled Mom's boyfriend to steal ingredients for crystal meth. The film begins with a rather bloody death and ends with the aforementioned 15-year-old explaining, in a long eulogy, why we should care about the deceased. Between these two scenes is a very disjointed, confused, and sloppy movie.
Lumpy (Tyler Labine), the doomed best man in "Best Man Down", spends the opening credits being an obnoxious, drunken ripoff of Zach Galifianakis. He spills tequila on the $3,000 wedding gown worn by the bride, Kristin (Jess Wexler). He dances on tables, pukes in the ladies' room toilet and, according to Kristin, hits on a 14-year-old girl. Lumpy is the reason God made bridezillas, the control-freak reality-show women who employ draconian methods to ensure a perfect wedding. Lumpy's unpleasant antics eventually get him politely ejected from the wedding by the groom, Scott (Justin Long). Lumpy is Scott's best friend and, according to dialogue peppered throughout the film's early scenes, in dire need of an intervention. He gets a divine one.
Back in his hotel room, Lumpy executes an ill-advised air-guitar move, cracking his head open in the process. Covered in blood, Lumpy stumbles outside looking for help. He dies after falling on a cactus, a detail the movie mentions multiple times. I doubt Lumpy's death itself is supposed to be funny, but it serves as the catalyst for cringe-worthy, horrific attempts at humor. What Kristin does to Lumpy's rigor mortised, erect cadaver will clue you into the comedic level employed throughout "Best Man Down."
Lumpy's death sends Scott and Kristin back to Minneapolis to plan Lumpy's funeral. It appears Lumpy had no other friends besides Scott, nor any family members who would be expected to handle burial decisions. Otherwise, why would the duo cancel their honeymoon and spend money they do not have in order to do this? As an example of just how sloppy "Best Man Down" is, writer-director Ted Koland introduces Lumpy's mother during the funeral scene. The film spends crucial amounts of runtime trying to find a mysterious person in Lumpy's phone because he supposedly has no next of kin. Instead of being involved in scenes with Scott and Kristin earlier, Mom is trotted out as an insulting grasp for sympathy in the final minutes.