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Stag DVD Review

Stag (2013) DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Stag

Video Premiere: August 20, 2013 / Running Time: 84 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Brett Heard

Cast: Donald Faison (Ken Andrew), Eva Amurri (Veronica Simpson), Jon Dore (Luke Gordon), Leah Renee (Candy/Margaret), Tony Nappo (Paul), Pat Thornton (Carl), Jefferson Brown (Henry), Brandon Gall (Rory), Mayko Nguyen (Caroline), Georgina Reilly (Pam), Sugar Lyn Beard (Mary), Scott Yaphe (Randy), Cle Bennett (Gus the 1st AD), Brianna D'Aquanno (Isabelle), Aron Tager (Old Man), Erin Keaney (Marsha), David Kerr (Jason Albright - Pineapple Guy)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: None; Extras Not Subtitled; Closed Captioned
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Keepcase
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99

Buy Stag on DVD at Amazon.com

The cover of Stag alone makes a case for Donald Faison to be the answer to the question, "Which 'Scrubs' alum currently has the most dire career?" In truth, that probably isn't the right answer.

Neil Flynn and Christa Miller have landed on sitcoms soon to begin their fifth seasons. Zach Braff resurfaced (mostly vocally) in Oz the Great and Powerful and recently used crowdfunding to start directing his overdue Garden State follow-up.
42 returned John C. McGinley to the respectable big screen character roles he long enjoyed. Ken Jenkins turns 73 this month, which makes his recurring role on "Cougar Town" employment enough. Sarah Chalke just got a second network sitcom cancelled after thirteen episodes, which makes her a candidate. Judy Reyes might still be the correct answer; she's done nothing but single-shot guest appearances until Lifetime picked up the Latin-flavored dramedy "Devious Minds" originally intended for ABC.

By comparison, Faison is doing no worse than most of his castmates. The 39-year-old can currently be seen in theaters as Dr. Gravity in Kick-Ass 2, the biggest of his few post-Scrubs film credits. He also continues to star in the TV Land sitcom "The Exes", which is halfway into airing its third season at the moment. He's also voiced a "TRON: Uprising" character in six episodes, hosted TBS' coolly-received hidden camera show "Who Gets the Last Laugh?", turned up briefly in Pitch Perfect, and will appear in Braff's Wish I Was Here.

Nonetheless, with his face peeking out above pink panties and red Solo cups, amidst no-name co-stars and a lady unimportant enough to cut off at the nose, the artwork for Stag suggests this direct-to-video indie comedy wasn't a great career move for the man who contributed so many laughs to the nine seasons (eight of them, devoutly treasured) of "Scrubs."

At his stag party, Ken Andrew (a spottily-bearded Donald Faison) is ready for his friends to start repaying him for his extreme pranks in the Canadian comedy "Stag."

Faison plays Ken Andrew (or Andrews, depending on who you believe), the unrivaled prankster in his group of thirtysomething friends. Ken has pulled legendary stunts on his pals at their bachelor parties. Now that he's getting married (to a briefly-seen Mayko Nguyen), he rightfully fears retribution at his own stag party, held at an establishment called The Duke Live.com.

The guys have incentive to strike back at Ken. His greatest hits, depicted and described in the opening scenes, include taking a photograph that looked like a passed-out friend had a pineapple shoved up his rectum and painting the body of another inebriated groom-to-be to form a clown face (a red modesty sock, its tongue). Ken attends the evening with caution, especially since the friend designated to watch his back doesn't show up.

While Ken may be the reason for the night's gathering, he does not gather any more screentime than his friends in this ensemble piece. Family man Luke (Jon Dore, embodying the Paul Rudd type absolutely) is reluctantly there instead of working late. He's assigned with procuring the stripper, Candy (Leah Renee), who tempts him into adultery while secretly using the night to fuel her blog (a tip of the cap to Diablo Cody?) about male menopause. Effete nice guy Henry (Jefferson Brown) has just been dumped by his wife of two years. Paul (Tony Nappo), his best friend since childhood, tries to lift his spirits while dealing with chest pains. There's talk that Henry may be gay, speculation Paul dismisses with some telling homophobic slurs.

Circumstance brings movie star Victoria Simpson (Eva Amurri Martino) and hefty background actor Carl (Pat Thornton) together on a set's jammed old-fashioned elevator. Before the night is over, longtime friends Paul (Tony Nappo) and/or Henry (Jefferson Brown) might realize they are gay.

There's also Rory (Brendan Gall), who lacks depth perception ever since Ken got him with that clown body paint prank. Finally, the most tangential and perhaps most focal storyline --
one that feels patched together from an altogether different romantic comedy -- involves Ken's absentee wingman Carl (Pat Thornton), a sad sack movie extra and aspiring screenwriter who star-struckedly gets stuck in a shoot's jammed elevator with starlet Victoria Simpson (Eva Amurri Martino).

Though the title and cover of Stag lead you to expect some outrageous, raunchy Bachelor Party-type romp, first-time writer-director Brett Heard instead uses the setting to wax upon the issues facing men in their thirties (an age he is well past). There is a grand total of one second of nudity split into two attempts by the stripper to live up to her job description, only to find certain men objecting to her objectification.

A film about taking stock of one's life sounds more noble and worthwhile than simply men behaving badly, but none of these characters earn any sympathy from us. Nor do any of them evolve in interesting ways. The self-discovery regarding mistaken sexual orientation is merely a springboard for gay panic jokes. Ken is only remorseful for his past transgressions because he's afraid it's going to come back to bite him in the ass (or some other body part). Luke needs little prodding to remember that his wife and 6-year-old daughter at home are blessings.

You've probably already deduced as much by now, but Stag is extremely light on laughs. Its notion of dynamite pranks is astray and though the plot calls for a party marked by disappointment, viewers are sure to find the night rather joyless. The movie at least doesn't push too hard on the comedy, but its light drama is no less stupid or more entertaining.

Months after some scattered screenings, this Canadian production reaches a mass audience (in theory, at least) on Tuesday, when Vertical Entertainment releases it exclusively to DVD.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Stag's 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is somewhat soft, pale, and slightly blurry, but it will look just fine to most viewers and to anyone who hasn't yet come to demand high definition. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is average and unremarkable. There's also a 2.0 stereo option for those lacking home theater setups.

Stag's trailer spells out the premise of this 2013 Canadian comedy film. Simply adapted from the cover art, the Stag DVD's main menu fills in Donald Faison's beard and loses his no-name guy friends.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The DVD's only extra is a trailer (2:20) that surely can't be called theatrical. The disc opens with a trailer for Rushlights.

The static, silent menus recycle elements from the cover art.

The plain black keepcase is not joined by any insert or slipcovers.

Family man Luke Gordon (Jon Dore) is lured to infidelity by stripper/blogger Candy/Margaret (Leah Renee).

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Stag neither lives up to the low expectations its cover sets nor surpasses them with its unintelligent, unfunny, not terribly raunchy brand of thirtysomething guy comedy. While you could easily reach this conclusion on your own, allow me to confirm that this movie is positively not a good use of your time, even if it is mercifully short.

Buy Stag on DVD at Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Donald Faison: Clueless Homie Spumoni Skyline Remember the Titans
Scrubs: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 Season 8 Season 9
Eva Amurri Martino: That's My Boy Middle of Nowhere New York, I Love You
The Hot Flashes The Hangover Workaholics: Seasons 1 & 2 Take Me Home Tonight 10 Years Movie 43
Hall Pass Road Trip Wedding Daze I Love You, Man The Sapphires

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Reviewed August 17, 2013.



Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013 Vertical Entertainment and Fresh Baked Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.