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  Drunk Bus Stay Behind The Yellow Line
Year: 2020
Director: John Carlucci, Brandon LaGanke
Stars: Charlie Tahan, Kara Hayward, Pineapple Tangaroa, Tonatiuh, Zach Cherry, Frank Iero, Sarah Mezzanotte, Dave Hill, Martin Pfefferkorn, Jay Devore, Amber Anne, Sydney Farley, Biz LaChance, Dresden Engle, Alex Packard, Brendan Abbott
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Michael (Charlie Tahan) is in his early twenties, a graduate of a college, and now a bus driver. He drives the night bus around the campus location where he used to study, and rather than doing something constructive with his learning, he has opted to travel round and round in circles every night, picking up and dropping off abusive and often drunk passengers who show him not one iota of respect. The trigger for this lack of ambition was what happened with his girlfriend Amy (Sarah Mezzanotte), who wanted to take things further until... she left, abandoning Michael to his limbo, and wondering if she would ever return from her adventure in New York City. Then he receives a text from her...

Drunk Bus was purportedly based on a true story, or at least a set of authentic experiences, but that did not explain why it trotted out the same sad sack white boy needs cheering up cliches that had been around since The Graduate in the nineteen-sixties. Though this was not set in the year it was made (it was taking place in 2006), it did feel very familiar, as if we had been here many times before without any movement forward. Certainly the world's quotient of sad sack white boys had not dwindled, and they needed entertainment as much as anybody, but there was a sense while watching this that the two directors were struggling to bring much new to the table that we had not witnessed over and over.

Nevertheless, some elements were stronger than others, specifically the scenes where it was shown what assholes people can be as a matter of course, some even going out of their way to pick on Michael who does nothing more offensive than sit in his cab, numbly taking all this abuse as if he deserves it. There was a ring of truth to that casually portrayed worst of humanity - nobody gets murdered, but nobody's life is improved by bullying the less fortunate in this existence rendering it a real vale of tears for our miserable hero who somehow in his barely functioning awareness truly believes as if this is the lot in life that has chosen him, and it is his social duty to be this punching bag for anyone seeking to vent their impulses to harass and hassle one of their fellow human beings to give themselves a confidence boost.

You know how a lot of these sad white boy movies get a perfect girlfriend to latch onto him, or they would be perfect if only he realised? And how often they would get a wacky friend of colour to encourage him and help him see his troubles in a new light? Well, you had both here: Kara Hayward was the bus passenger whose best friend is a nice young gay man (therefore - she's available) who helps lift Michael out of his doldrums, and not only that, but after he is headbutted in the face by a student he gets his own bodyguard, a hefty, tattooed and pierced Samoan (Pineapple Tangaroa, seemingly playing himself) who dares him to break out of his cycle of depression by introducing him to new behaviours, most of which involve standing up for himself by being equally aggressive back. Meanwhile, Amy keeps texting, but if you believed he would end up with her you were a fool to yourself. All in all, despite being billed as comedy, the offhand cruelty dulled any laughs, but the cast kept you engaged and wishing they had less contrived material to shine with. If you identified with the main character, you'd get more out of it than most.

[Blue Finch Film Releasing presents Drunk Bus on Digital Download 24 May 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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