Monday, July 15, 2024

Movie Review: ‘Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain’ is Ridiculous Fun

Director: Paul Briganti
Writers: Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, and Ben Marshall
Stars: Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, Ben Marshall

Synopsis: It follows three friends who live together. When they realize that they don’t like their life trajectory, they set off to find a gold treasure that is rumored to be buried in the nearby mountain.

The guys in the comedy trio Please Don’t Destroy, who bring surrealist humor to the TikTok generation, have breathed new life into Saturday Night Live over the past few years. I would call group members Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy fearless. Their new Peacock streaming comedy, aptly titled Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain, is purely them. A type of madcap humor, even irreverent, that rarely can be found on television anymore.

The script follows the three friends, Ben, John, and Martin (again, aptly named), as the trio is stuck in an eternal mode of arrested development. Martin has curtailed his super cool, tough-guy image thanks to his steady girlfriend, who happens to be a conservative Christian. You have Ben, a young man trying too hard to get his father’s approval (a hilarious Conan O’Brien), who wants to take over his father’s sporting goods store.

Then there is John, the friend, trying to keep the group from growing up and staying on the island of misfit toys. He refuses to acknowledge Martin’s girlfriend (he doesn’t even know her last name) and criticizes Ben for trying to win his father’s approval, which is actually profound. John thinks that being in their mid-twenties isn’t a time to start thinking about their futures.

So, to keep the group from drifting apart, he decides the trio should take an adventure together. That’s right—a search for the treasure of Foggy Mountain. As legend has it, an adventure seeker (Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang) went missing looking for the treasure years prior. They meet an enemy hawk with an eye for revenge and a pair of forest rangers (Megan Statler and X Mayo) who want the treasure for themselves.

Written by Marshall, Higgins, and Herlihy and directed by Paul Briganti, the comedy ranges from amusing to often hilarious but hardly ever drops the ball and often hits their mark. The trio’s script has at least three to four good belly laughs. And while the John Goodman narration may be too much of your usual SNL shtick, it surprisingly works well enough to set up a few gags and keep the storytelling tool interesting. The film’s highlight is the pairing of Statler’s Lisa and Higgins, who have an adorable and almost affable chemistry that is simply delightful. Known for Hacks, Statler is simply winning here.

What you’ll love about the script is the deep bench of supporting characters acting absurd and wacky humor that revolves around the three stars’ satirical comedic takes. From the absurdity of that vengeful hawk to Conan O’Brien’s spineless take on fatherhood to Yang’s biting take on feigned advocacy, the comedy works famously while having the ability not to be taken too seriously.

Overall, Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain is too damn likable and funny to dismiss. In a year of great theatrical comedies, particularly the hard R-variety like Joy Ride and No Hard Feelings, Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy’s films stand out among the crowded field of streaming war offerings. The comedy is awkward, ridiculous fun from some fresh voices, and the best SNL-produced comedy to come along in decades. 

Grade: B

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