Film Review – BAD SHABBOS: Daniel Robbins Directs One of the Funniest Festival Films in Years [Tribeca 2024] SuperNayr

Kyra Sedgwick Plus Cast At Table Bad Shabbos

Bad Shabbos Review

Bad Shabbos (2024) Film Review from the 23rd Annual Tribeca Film Festival, a movie directed by Daniel Robbins, written by Zack Weiner and Daniel Robbins and starring Milana Vayntrub, Meghan Leathers, Method Man, David Paymer, Kyra Sedgwick, Ashley Zukerman, Jon Bass, Catherine Curtin, John Bedford Lloyd, Josh Mostel, Alok Tewari, Stephen Singer, Theo Taplitz, Gary Greengrass and Martha Epstein.

Director Daniel Robbins creates a New York comedy unlike any other with the laugh-out-loud crowd-pleaser, Bad Shabbos. This movie will catch you by surprise. There are some big name performers in it but they are mostly character actors, not major movie stars. However, this is truly a major production with some of the funniest scenes you’ll see at the movies this year. Robbins, who co-wrote the film, has a flair for absurdly comical humor that plays like gangbusters this time around. I’m not sure any of it is believable but you’ll have faith in the movie’s humor once you start laughing– and you won’t stop laughing any time soon once the movie’s story line begins to unfold.

As the film opens, we are informed shabbos is that time period of rest between Friday night and Saturday night. This movie is not about a period of peaceful rest but, instead, is a gem of a comedy packed with witty and sarcastic humor that Robbins drives home and then some thanks to some terrific performances. The first scene is that of a body falling in front of two pedestrians and the film flashes back to several hours earlier. Jon Bass plays David who has a serious girlfriend named Meg (Meghan Leathers). Benjamin (Ashley Zukerman) is seeing Abby (Milana Vayntrub, the hilarious spokesperson in those funny AT&T commercials) and the two drive in to see the folks, Richard (David Paymer) and Ellen (Kyra Sedgwick). Let’s not mention they were supposed to Uber it there, not drive in.

Richard and Ellen’s apartment has a door man named Jordan (Method Man) who gets along really well with the Jewish family, headed by Paymer. Just for the record, Paymer and Sedgwick worked together at least once before in 1993’s gem, Heart and Souls. Ellen shows a little interest that Meg is taking courses to change her religion from Christianity to Judaism for her newfound romance. Meg loves David a lot but all hell soon breaks loose. A burn-out family member, Adam (Theo Taplitz) slips Benjamin an overdose of laxatives. Benjamin heads to the bathroom to relieve himself but falls and hits his head, almost instantaneously dying. Well, he may have had a chance at survival but Adam doesn’t tell anyone for quite a while just how long Benjamin’s been in the bathroom without saying a word. Could he be dead? Affirmative.

So, when the family finally discovers Benjamin is dead one member at a time, the action becomes ridiculously hilarious as the desperate crew soon do anything and everything to figure out what to do next. The real surprise is when the door man, Jordan, becomes embroiled in the action with results that will have audiences laughing in the aisles. Jordan not only becomes a participant in the activities, he does so in a way that is both genius and wildly enjoyable.

The cast is uniformly excellent with Paymer proving that he’s always been one of our most underrated character actors. Watch the scene where he tries to cover up that there’s blood on a key character’s shirt and Richard starts engaging in a (supposedly religious) chant that will, like many other scenes in this picture, inspire plenty of laughs. There are so many one-liners and quirky quips here that the viewer will be in their glory. Vayntrub is also charismatic as Abby who admits she didn’t really love Benjamin but must pretend everything is OK to David’s potential in-laws. When Method Man’s Jordan assumes the role of the deceased Benjamin, the movie pulls out all the stops and veers into comedy classic territory. Method Man almost steals the movie.

Meghan Leathers is immensely likable as is Jon Bass as her soon-to-be husband. Kyra Sedgwick gets some moments to really stand-out too. One smart and funny scene has Meg correct Ellen who assumes Meg took her religious conversion classes on-line when they were, indeed, taken in-person. There is so much rich detail in the humor that the makers of Bad Shabbos should be commended in almost every possible way.

There are very few flaws to mention here. This film only really comes up short in its portrayal of Adam who doesn’t really seem to get any major scoldings for eventually giving Benjamin the laxatives which led to his death. At under 90-minutes, the film feels like it runs out of energy a bit towards the end too. Still, the material we do get presented with is of the highest quality and the laughs come at a fast, rapid-fire pace.

Bad Shabbos has something great in it for every comedy fan. Heck, even Josh Mostel pops up for a cameo. Daniel Robbins has emerged as an incredibly funny and talented filmmaker. The confinement to pretty much a single setting is wonderfully carried out in this movie as well. Bad Shabbos is nothing short of a miraculously funny movie which doesn’t sugarcoat its zany premise and pulls out all the stops in such a way that the majority of audiences will simply love it. It’s one of this year’s Tribeca’s major finds thus far.

Rating: 8/10

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