Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr If the suicide comedy hasn’t already been established as a genre, Joshy works hard to make it so. Written and directed by Jeff Baena, the film hits the necessary marks to satisfy those who like the bro-ish humor of some of its stars, particularly fans of Nick Kroll, but the balancing act the film attempts to maintain wobbles too frequently to make much lasting emotional resonance. Joshy (Thomas Middleditch) loses his fiancée in the opening credits of the film when she strangles herself with his belt in their apartment on his birthday. It’s sad mostly because that is all we see of Alison Brie, like many of the other members of the stacked cast who walk in and out of the film in the amount of time it takes to remember their character’s names, like Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson, and Lauren Graham. They are all ornamental and for the most part unnecessary; the film isn’t about them and it isn’t very much about Joshy, either. It is about Joshy’s friends who, four months after the suicide, get together for what should have been the bachelor party but is now labelled a “guys’ weekend.” Ari (Adam Pally), Adam (Alex Ross Perry), Eric (Nick Kroll), and Greg (Brett Gelman) are not the greatest friends or influences on Joshy. Ari makes a valiant effort to keep the weekend light until he gets too distracted by an extramarital romance with Jodi (a particularly phenomenal Jenny Slate). Adam is going through the dissolution of a 10 year relationship, Eric is in an unhappy marriage and is also seemingly a semi-casual drug addict, and Greg isn’t even known to Joshy but is a tagalong that Eric brings, in what can only be seen as an attempt to make Eric more palatable to the audience. Pally, who was a comedic gem in television shows Happy Endings and The Mindy Project, is surprisingly charming as the romantic lead in what feels like a completely different movie from the one the other characters are stuck in. He and Slate are enchanting to watch, both playing toned down versions of the pot-smoking, happy-go-lucky characters they tend to play. The movie isn’t theirs, though it would have been for the better if it had been. Kroll and Gelman are loud and abrasive, shooting each other with BB guns in the “bonanza hole” and leading the crew in a slew of illegal activities involving everything from breaking and entering to illicit substances to strippers and sex workers. None of it is new and most of it isn’t all that funny. The jump from their stark, crass humor to the emotional current running under the film is not so well managed. The shifts are not unwarranted — most people are not great at handling situations as brutal as this one. The problem is that it becomes exhausting for the audience to stick with the rocking boat long enough to uncover anything real or meaningful. When those scenes do arrive, they rarely go deep enough and are ushered out too quickly to balance anything out. The rather shocking comedic gold comes from Alex Ross Perry. Adam is the nerdy, anxiety-ridden thirty-something that pops up in almost every indie film about “adults” these days, but Perry makes the role something exquisite. His presence alone, clad in khakis and a cardigan as the rest of the gang soaks in a hot tub, is quietly amusing, something greatly needed in the chaos of the rest of the characters. He also manages to bring the most emotional pull. After the official over-the-phone break up with his long term girlfriend takes place, he has to share a room with the cuddling, fledgling couple Ari and Jodi, unable to sleep as he watches them blissfully doze next to each other. He takes his blanket and heads for the patio, staring out into the empty, mountainous distance. It is one of the most heartbreaking moments, which is impressive considering it has nothing to do with suicide in a movie that has a lot to do with suicide. Middleditch plays the sad Joshy well, but he doesn’t have much on his plate until the final quarter of the film. Most of the time he is present though not noticeably so. When he finally gets his moment to stop the party train and give the crushing monologue the film had been horribly missing all along, he delivers. It only comes a little too late. Joshy’s focus hits just as the movie wraps up. Male emotional distance is the heart of the story, and when Middleditch recites his truth bomb filled with tears and snot and anger and heartbreak, that distance is shortened for a only a fleeting moment. They rebound from the outbreak by playing a board game, eating grilled cheese and eventually bidding each other adieu. No major bonds are forged and nothing much is said to address the pain Joshy unleashed. In this conclusion the film far exceeds its beginning or middle, and the final push of effort is just good enough to nullify the wobbliness that may leave the audience a bit seasick for the first hour and 15 minutes of the ride.