Drunk Bus follows the story of Michael, played by Charlie Tahan, a college graduate who’s plan for life after college has been derailed after his ‘recent breakup’ with his girlfriend. That ‘recent breakup’ was nine months ago, and now Charlie is caught in the endless loop of driving the late-night campus shuttle bus- the ‘Drunk Bus’- ferrying drunk college students from parties to their dorms and back again.
There’s an interesting premise in there somewhere since a lot of fun and humour can come from a bunch of wasted college students on a bus, following the driver’s perspective on everything that goes on. There is a bit of fun to be had here and there with a few funny lines but overall, Drunk Bus doesn’t really do much and leaves you reaching for a drink to help you get through to the end of the film.
The film isn’t entirely a comedy. It’s more of a drama-comedy with a few poignant moments that come from the relationship between Charlie and the 300-pound punk-rock Samoan named Pineapple who’s hired by the bus service as a security guard to protect Charlie after he’s bruised and battered by one of the drunk passengers. Pineapple gives Charlie the kick he needs to break free from the time loop he’s living in and stop driving around in circles all day so he can actually live his life.
The problem with the film is it doesn’t quite know where it stands and I’m not entirely sure on what it was trying to be. It wasn’t funny enough to be an outright comedy and it never fully hooked me with any of the drama or emotion behind it for longer than a few minutes. There are a few moments within the film’s 100 minute runtime that do land and do feel quite poignant and the way that Pineapple makes Michael question and re-evaluate his outlook on life provides some of the film’s most impactful moments. However, it’s not enough for you to leave the film with much connection to the protagonist or anything that happens to him.
It has a lot of the generic tropes and beats that you’d expect from a young adult, coming of age film and it’s because of this that the movie never fully takes off- hang on, buses don’t take off- the film never really leaves the station and it never hits in the same way that directors John Carlucci and Brandon LaGanke would have hoped.
Drunk Bus is a fairly lacklustre directorial debut that has a few funny moments and a few touching scenes but beyond that, Drunk Bus takes a somewhat uneventful and uninspiring route.
Blue Finch Film Releasing presents Drunk Bus on Digital Download 24 May.