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Snack Shack (Film Review)

3 min read
Snack Shack

It may feel a little early for a teen summer comedy to be making a splash, but Snack Shack is ahead of the curve. With a great cast, in particular the two leads as AJ and as Moose, and a fun vibe running throughout, there is more than meets the eye with this film from director Adam Rehmeier.

After being harangued into getting a job for the summer, teenage best friends AJ and Moose win a bid at their council to run the snack shack at the local swimming pool. Through their entrepreneurial spirit, they try to turn a profit and plan for future ventures. But when a new lifeguard, Brooke (Mika Abdalla), arrives on the scene, the boys' friendship and business are put to the test.

The film leans on that age-old problem with close best friends; they are challenged by a romantic interest coming between them. Sadly, Snack Shack, follows the same beats as other films like it. AJ and Moose each like Brooke and waste time trying to ‘win' her over. The rivalry feels forced, especially as it seems clear who Brooke is interested in from the start. Brooke herself is not a likeable or even an interesting character[; she calls AJ “shit pig” the entire way through the story, for no clear reason, and barely becomes a fully rounded character. It's difficult to fathom that she is the cause of the rift between AJ and Moose.

Happily, the time spent on this triangle is the only disappointing part of Snack Shack. At the film's core are two friendships that each bring joy, support and eventually, some hope. AJ and Moose are best friends, partners, and are each other's lifeline. As Moose always says, “we're a package deal.” There are some obvious flaws to this close bond (Moose's disrespectful attitude to AJ at times is borderline selfish) but they are in sync. Throughout the risky ventures and insane ideas, they have a plan and they have each others' backs despite all of the bad times. A solid friendship on film is always fun to watch and Snack Shack never disappoints when it comes to these two characters' antics.

Aside from this nearly unbreakable bond is the more emotionally meaningful friendship between AJ and Shane (Nick Robinson), who has a notably different outlook on life. Shane is older, wiser, and even offers opportunities for AJ outside of his life with Moose. Shane is the rock to both boys and more the understanding older brother to AJ specifically. Their scenes are the most down-to-earth and have a welcome contrast to everything else happening in the story.

Snack Shack is a teenage boy's dream; making easy money, hanging out by the pool, and drawing the interest of a hot older girl. But aside from the distracting romance, there are plenty of fun and very funny moments to be enjoyed by everyone. Though labelled as a ‘raunchy' comedy, there is not as much vulgar dialogue as you may expect. There are, in fact, some genuinely emotional, gut-wrenching scenes. There is depth to Snack Shack that possibly could have been mined even more if there wasn't a certain lifeguard getting in the way.

Snack Shack will be released in the UK later this year