Film Review: Overtime (2011)

SYNOPSIS:

Raph and Max only kill bad guys, and only after their boss Sam, a high-powered attorney, has cashed a nice paycheck for getting her sleazy clients off the hook. When Sam sends our heroes on a routine hit, they find themselves caught up in a conspiracy they never imagined. But whatever trouble they’ve gotten themselves into is nothing compared to the wrath of Raph’s wife if he doesn’t make it home in time for his son’s birthday party. Being a good hit man is tough; being a good dad is killer!

REVIEW:

For those lacking¬†the ability to flip a switch in your¬†intellect from the rabbit silhouette to that of a lumbering turtle,¬†perusing this link¬†any further may prove to be a colossal waste of precious time.¬† However, there are certain exercises one can perform in an effort to put the noodle on ice, which is actually an important skill to possess¬†for any connoisseur of our humble genre.¬† Truth be told, a monkey at a keyboard could easily concoct 90% of¬†all horror films ever made, and that’s a modest estimate on the part of yours truly.¬† Personally, I prefer the drunken uncle wedding speech ramblings of the delightful Glenn Beck for my shot of brain Novocaine.¬† With each insane¬†word warbled from his greasy lips, I can practically feel¬†the gray matter oozing from my ears and staining my collar.¬† If your mind remains unyielding, I would suggest any program The Learning Channel has produced in the last ten years as a fail safe alternative, but reading on would prove to be an impossibility once you’ve gouged your own eyes out with the nearest pointy implement.

If you are currently pissed off about the Glenn Beck¬†comments and/or Googling the definition of “implement,” you’re already of perfect capacity¬†for a senseless foray into the arena of low-budget horror comedy.¬† A perfect example of such an offering¬†is “Overtime,” a delightfully vacant near-gem that is precisely what it is and nothing more.¬† It is almost daunting not to oversell this scrambled mess of a motion picture, because it never once attempts to oversell itself.¬† Essentially a crass shoot-em-up, it could also be accurately described as an action/zombie/alien apocalypse/buddy flick, but that would still be¬†omitting¬†key elements.¬† Once again, this is turning into a standing ovation of a review, when¬†affectionate applause and a goofy grin are really all that’s warranted.

Hired guns Raph and Max (former WWF star Al Snow and John Wells, neither a potential Oscar contender) work for powerful defense attorney Samantha Carter (Katie Stewart) in a business arrangement¬†of sheer¬†genius: She gets the bad guys off, then turns around and contracts¬†the boys to assassinate those acquitted in an attempt to soothe her own weary conscious.¬† The plot is set in gear when she informs them¬†there is¬†one more hit to perform on a Sunday, much to their chagrin.¬† It happens to be Raph’s son Jimmy’s birthday, and his wife Tammy (Christina Mullins) is already perturbed with him over getting blood on his dress shirt amidst a violent gunfight.¬† This is delving into dry “Lethal Weapon” territory,¬†as the wisecracking duo enjoys time within the confines of a happily imperfect family unit mere minutes after brutally murdering approximately ten drug dealers, but “Overtime” doesn’t give a damn.¬† It wears its influences on its sleeve, and these scenes of inaction are every bit as amusing as the chaos surrounding the leads throughout the rest.

Saddled with the added duties of obtaining a birthday cake, present and clown for Jimmy’s party, our antiheroes set off on their final job for the day, which they must finish by seven in time for the festivities.¬† Things don’t go quite as planned, of course, and they soon find themselves trapped in a laboratory facility¬†full of marauding, green pus-oozing undead who have been infected with a non-terrestrial virus that makes it victims both ravenous for human flesh and virtually unstoppable.¬† The how and why of all this bears no need for explanation, because you’re either with it by this point, or you’re scanning your channel guide to see who Dave Letterman will be interviewing later.¬† Adding a¬†group of¬†survivors which includes a couple of prerequisite hot chicks (Sebrina Siegel, Erica Goldsmith) and obvious soon-to-be victims, “Overtime”¬†becomes a veritable orgy of bullets, blood and smart ass one-liners, a few of which tank but the brunt of will elicit a least a chuckle or two.

Brian Cunningham and Matt Neihoff, who have written and produced numerous award-winning dramatic shorts prior to filling¬†nearly every technical credit shy of catering here, utilize¬†the entire “Action Flick Direction For Dummies” handbook to bring their mad creation alive, at times to excessive effect.¬† The carnage soon becomes repetitive bordering ever so precariously¬†on tedium, but kudos must be awarded for their instincts¬†in pulling it all back with a droll moment of levity here and there.¬† One such scene, in which the gang waits patiently on an elevator before dispatching a few hundred more of the infected and Max berates one of the girls for her¬†aversion to¬†desserts (“Who doesn’t like cake?!”), is a riot.¬† These fleeting glimpses of restraint are welcome breathers from what could have certainly crossed the line a multitude of times and sent the viewer reaching for the remote.

Despite the sharp writing and capable production values, none of this would work if not for the strength and amiability of the stars.¬† Snow and Wells nail the chemistry paramount to these kinds of pictures, from earlier days of Butch and Sundance to the¬†contemporary¬†hetero life partner bickering displayed by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the inane yet entertaining “Bad Boys” films.¬† I dare not concede that these two lovable goofs are at a level comparable to Newman and Redford, but no one expects them to be.¬†¬†As with¬†every other tiniest detail of “Overtime,” high expectations and artistic integrity take a back seat to good old-fashioned fun, and in that respect the entire affair succeeds marvelously.¬† I’d recently¬†watched the high-profile Seth MacFarlane comedy “Ted,” and as much as I enjoyed that film, this one made me laugh out loud at least a dozen more times in its run.

Throw in a homeless wino (Sean Saunders) the boys hire¬†as Jimmy’s party clown, a¬†sardonic commercial for the latest gaming system, and enough f-bombs to bring a rosy hue to Tarantino’s cheeks, and “Overtime” leaves little to¬†rebuke.¬† That is assuming you’re capable of finding that mental off button, of course.¬† To quell the irate shrieks of my own inner movie snob, I will repeat myself but only once:¬†¬†”Overtime” is not an exemplary¬†motion picture.¬† It’s nonsense.¬† It is utter brain candy, nothing more.¬† So give the cranium a treat.¬†¬†Put down that dog-eared Updike novel you’ve read seventeen times and have some¬†guffaws courtesy of¬†Cunningham, Neihoff and company.¬† You already know how “A Month of Sundays”¬†ends anyway.¬† If not, the minister nails the nun.¬† Now you know, so watch this movie.

GRADE:  B

Overtime (2011)

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About Rob Getz

Rob Getz was born poor and ugly in rural Michigan to a horror fanatic father and an incredibly good sport of a mother. He and his younger siblings spent countless weekend evenings ushered off in their pajamas by their parents to a local drive-in movie theater, where they were assured to be completely unconscious before the opening credits of the second film were finished rolling. Rob vaguely recalls these blurred images launching such classics as Ridley Scott's "Alien" and "The Changeling" through drooping eyelids. As he became older, he took the initiative nobody else in the Getz household had the moxie nor the energy to attempt and learned how to program their antiquated V.C.R. to record heavily edited horror films from one of the four available channels. Without these nocturnal bootlegs, there would have been no youthful introduction to the likes of "Re-Animator" or "Eraserhead." Rob wanted to be a part of this twisted universe from those days forward, regardless of the role he played. The tiniest, most insignificant cog in a machine is truly happy if it adores the machine. Even a critic.

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