The Next Big Thing Review
Most of us who have best friends, that one person whose loyalty is never in question, would do anything for that person. The job of any friend, particularly a best friend, is to add value in some way, to build you up, to show you some tough love when you need it, and sometimes when you don’t. But just how far would a person go to take care of their best friend? Consider Julian (Brad Culver) and his dynamic with Chuck (Jonney Ahmanson). If you look at that, you could see one of two things: that there is genuine love and care there or that this is a completely unhealthy codependent relationship. Or you might see all three of these things, and that is one of the great things about movies. The idea that they allow us to see a multitude of things.
Jamie has been working at a call center for a while, but he hates it. Secretly, he is just waiting for his big break as an actor. He makes YouTube videos of himself performing various characters to scratch that itch on the side, but nothing really has come from it. Enter his best friend Chuck who has been out of the picture for a number of years. He shows up one night at Julian’s home with an opportunity of a lifetime. He wants to help his friend be this star that is inside, all that is required is for him to be the subject of a documentary about his life. Sounds easy enough, right? All he has to do is allow a camera into all the areas of his life. He wants to be a star. Piece of cake.
Ultimately what starts out as two best friends reconnecting after a long while over something they love, turns out to be a lot more. On the surface, you might think of everything transpiring in this film as ridiculous and far-fetched. On one hand, it is. The situations Jamie finds himself in, or rather, the situations he allows himself to be put into in his pursuit of that big break makes for some of the film’s great laughs. That said, he is only one half of the equation here. The other half is Chuck, the way he is so dogged in his goal to try and get the film made, and how he plays against Jamie is gold. The two have great chemistry and the film really lives and breathes through them.
But on other the other side, there is real emotion shared between the two men in a way that gets to the heart of the matter of what makes them tick. There is an intimacy that feels unforced and natural. You believe these guys have been through the ringer and back again. For instance, a line tossed out about how ages ago Beth (Sam Bianchini), who is Jamie’s wife, and Chuck used to be an item doesn’t feel like an afterthought thrown in to give more drama to their dynamic. Rather, it feels organic. Not a huge detail, but an important piece of color for how the two guys play against one another.
For all the laughs and hi-jinx, with appearances from the likes of Jonathan Lipnicki in a deliciously self-aware performance, Marshall Manesh from television's How I Met Your Mother, and a nice touch with the addition of Lou Ferrigno as a Fox executive, there are also moments of great feeling that punctuate the dynamics and help to make this more than an average comedy.