It’ll take all of 10 minutes to decide if you want to stick with The Package. It’s one of those outrageous teen comedies that mistakes increasingly sillier scenarios for clever humor. There’s some laughs to be had, but not enough to warrant unwrapping this Netflix original.
The style of humor is apparent early on. Social misfit Donnie (Luke Spencer Roberts) overrides his friend’s WiFi to somehow throw porn up on the family TV. I’m not even sure that’s possible, but the payoff was so chuckle free it wasn’t worth trying to make sense of it.
Donnie is going on a boys’ camping getaway with his buddies Sean (Daniel Doheny) and Jeremy (Eduardo Franco). But there’s a catch. Jeremy’s twin sister, Becky (Geraldine Viswanathan, Blockers), and Donnie’s ex, Sarah (Sadie Calvano), are coming along too. Sean has nursed a serious crush on Becky for a long time so he sees this as his big chance. Jeremy ups the creep factor by encouraging him to sleep with her so he can experience sex via their ‘twin connection.’
Sadly, The Package is not some clever euphemism for gifts or a film about a delivery guy. It’s the lowbrow, teen version of the word. In another strain on credibility, super drunk Jeremy manages to cut off Lil’ Jeremy while peeing. The film then begins this ridiculous odyssey to get Jeremy’s penis reattached in 12 hours.
Director Jake Szymanski makes the random mishaps fun thanks to timely reveals of the treacherous terrain. Szymanski does as best as he can with the material, particularly the crazier moments, but the material doesn’t provide much help.
The film would probably be a lot more endearing if the guys were more likable. They’re the clueless teens you’ll see at the mall desperately trying to be cool and failing miserably. Sean is a bland, unassuming lead; Jeremy is in the too stupid to function category and Donnie is a failure at being The Package’s scene stealing, obnoxious best friend.
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Donnie is clearly positioned to be the film’s Steve Stifler, the hilarious social misfit from the American Pie series. Whether from Roberts’ performance or the shoddy writing, Donnie is far less amusing and comes off incredibly annoying. Doheny, Roberts and Franco don’t have great chemistry either making their friendship come off as strained and unlikely.
It’s telling when random supporting characters like Mary Holland’s triage nurse and Michael Eklund’s overly patriotic gas station attendant end up delivering bigger laughs than the three male leads. Viswanathan and Calvano are a lot of fun however. They seem far more relaxed and don’t try as hard to be funny.
Too often screenwriters Kevin Burros and Matt Mider go for the obvious jokes. They rarely tease a joke going one way and then take an unpredictable hilarious left turn. Of course the snake the stumble onto takes a bit out of Lil Jeremy requiring someone to suck out the venom. And why wouldn’t they double check on some vital elements of the rescue mission?
Burros and Mider keep putting the characters in questionable positions to reach the film’s 98-minute conclusion when they probably would have been better served limiting the mishaps, but making them more challenging. How did Burros and Mider not come up with an eagle snatching Lil Jeremy to feed to its kids scenario? To their credit, the set ups do have some punch even if they don’t land knockout laughs.
The Package doesn’t aspire or claim to be high-brow humor. If penis jokes still crack you up and the thought of a dismembered one being prominently featured has you smiling even a little, this might be worth checking out. For those with more discerning comedic tastes, don’t bother unwrapping this one.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/Netflix