Sundance Movie Review: Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler Comedy ‘Spring Breakdown’

On Friday night, I hit the midnight premiere of the Amy Poehler-Parker Posey-Rachel Dratch comedy “Spring Breakdown” at my personal favorite Sundance theater, the Library. The line to get in was longer than Robert Downey’s rap sheet, and 2 drunk dudes behind me kept joking about how they’d definitely get in because they had hard tickets. “I’ll give ya a hard ticket,” one said, to much laughter from the other. (Watch an exclusive clip from “Spring Breakdown” here.)

Once I got in, I saw several of the stars from the flick sitting in the middle of the crowd. The films at this year’s 25th annual fest starts with a short commercial featuring people’s past Sundance memories.

The clip we saw had a moment where some guy marveled over how you never know which celebrity will end up in your hot tub in the middle of the night – then mentioned Parker Posey by name.

Needless to say, those sitting around the Sundance darling burst into laughter; it was one of those moments that could only be experienced in Park City.

I had low expectations for “Breakdown,” mainly because I visited the set 3 (!) years ago, and the film still hadn’t been released – never a good sign. That said, the lightweight comedy was a pleasant surprise.

Written by “SNL” vet Dratch, the plot follows her, Poehler and Posey as the three losers find themselves on a road to spinster-dom, wasting their best years in a sea of cats, Amy Grant concerts and boardgame sleepovers.

After a convoluted series of events, they end up at South Padre Island, trying to control a politician’s supposed wild child (Amber Tamblyn), but instead Poehler and Dratch give in to the temptations of kegstands, random hookups, and the college popularity they never got while in school.

Most of the film’s story arcs are extremely predictable, right up to the Talent Show that pits the losers against their arch-enemies, The Sevens. Even at that point, the girls’ decision to sing Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” loses a lot of its comedic punch since fans of the genre just saw Harold and Kumar spoof the same song recently.

That said, the movie has some big, random gags that work well enough to make you forget the plot. Poehler’s increasingly absurd outfits as she slips into trendiness (a puffy hat Posey calls “Jiffy-Pop” is memorable) are fun, Posey’s unhealthy friendship with her cat and Dratch’s engagement to an everybody-knows-he’s-gay-but-her guy (played hilariously by Seth Meyers) all got big laughs from the crowd.

Is “Spring Breakdown” as good as “Mean Girls”? Or even as good as “Baby Mama”? No, not quite. But it’s funny enough to be in the same neighborhood, and that makes it well worth a recommendation.