Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Get Together is a freewheeling party film that desperately wants to be the next Can’t Hardly Wait, but ends up feeling more direct-to-video National Lampoon. It takes us through one wild night in the eyes of three very different viewpoints, giving each segment the tiniest morsel of development. Apart from the first, these separate journeys are never altogether awful. I wanted stricter narrative stakes and bolder outrageous comedy.

Part one follows August (Courtney Parchman), a post-grad outsider. August honestly comes across as annoying, and desperately seeking attention. I think we are supposed to relate to her introverted awkwardness, but it just felt so off-putting. It doesn’t help that this very first segment sets the stage for what’s to come. It introduces us to a chunk of annoying, screaming characters (August included) that made me nervous for what was to come.

Part two is a significant step up, centering on Damien (Jacob Artist) and Betsy (Johanna Brady), as Damien keeps putting off proposing to Betsy. He’s waiting for the perfect moment—could that be the huge party happening tonight? When an obnoxious friend overhears Damien talking about the potential proposal, he reassures Damien that he won’t talk. “One time, my cousin hit a guy with his car, and I didn’t say anything for like a week,” he reassures Damien. Artist’s character attended McKinley High, which has to be a clever reference to the titular school his character, Jake, attended on FOX’s Glee. The will they/won’t they of Damien and Betsy’s romance kept me invested in this middle portion.

The third part focuses on Caleb (Alejandro Rose-Garcia), as he nurses his burgeoning crush on Betsy behind closed doors. Caleb’s story felt the most narratively empty to me and adds only in padding out a small conflict for Damien and Betsy. Caleb desperately wants to make a move, and Betsy is, of course, in a serious relationship on the cusp of marriage. There isn’t anything more to Caleb’s hollow segment. 

I think the script from Michael B. Allen and Will Bakke relies too much on the hope that converging these disparate storylines will form a cohesive whole. Instead, The Get Together feels dangerously half-baked. Progression to note from beginning to end is nearly nonexistent, and the unraveling of connections is flat and matter-of-fact. The pace is quick and jumpy, with a brisk runtime at barely over an hour. A spunky cast, vibrant soundtrack, and clever dialogue (“are you ready for your best life, because it’s ready for you!”) will surely entertain less picky audience members looking for a rollicking party.

The Get Together comes together on demand from Vertical Entertainment on May 14th, 2021.

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