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‘Best Man Down’ Review: One Wedding, One Funeral, Zero Appeal

Despite the presence of Justin Long and Tyler Labine, this indie veers clumsily from farce to pathos, equally incompetent at either comedy and drama

Death be not proud nor funny nor moving nor remotely interesting in “Best Man Down,” a forgettable indie that shifts tone from comedy to drama without any feel for either. It’s a waste of a few talented actors, to say nothing of the audience’s time.

At the Arizona wedding reception of Scott (Justin Long) and Kristin (Jess Weixler, “The Good Wife”), he’s worried about how much everything costs while she looks forward to lounging in Cabo with a cocktail. Scott’s best man Lumpy (Tyler Labine) quickly becomes a more pressing concern, spilling tequila on the bridal gown and generally getting drunker as the evening proceeds, until Scott walks him back to his hotel room.

_MG_3950.CR2It’s in that room that Lumpy falls off his bed while jumping around to a hair-metal video, gets a gash in his head, staggers out to the desert bleeding, and then falls on a cactus, dead. The next day, Scott and Kristin have to cancel their honeymoon, using the money to ship Lumpy’s body back to Minnesota for the funeral.

As the newlyweds arrive in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Scott discovers that Lumpy may have been his oldest friend, but there was clearly a lot happening about which Scott knew nothing. In short order, Scott and Kristin learn that Lumpy had dropped out of law school, got fired from a bartending gig for dipping into the till and had some sort of relationship with troubled, precocious teen girl Ramsey (Addison Timlin), who seems to be the most upset of anyone to hear of Lumpy’s demise.

There were many directions in which writer-director Ted Koland (TV’s “Fashion House”) could take this story — dead guy at the wedding, new marriage tested by extreme circumstances, a friend’s hidden life — but none of his choices are remotely interesting. Long can be charismatic and funny given the right material (“Going the Distance,” “Accepted”), but here he’s stuck playing Guy Who Learns Things.

He and Weixler have zero chemistry for romance or comedy, and the movie gives talented character actors like Labine, Shelley Long (as Kristin’s pushy mother) and Frances O’Connor (as Ramsey’s deadbeat mom) almost nothing to do.

Just say “I don’t.”