Review: DESTINATION: DEWSBURY (2019)
Making a good comedy is not easy. It takes a certain kind of talent to write unpredictable jokes in tandem with an original plot to create a truly funny production. On the surface, a comedy about four men traveling to say their last goodbyes to a dying friend sounds like a dark, yet unique, story. Unfortunately, peculiar jokes that don’t seem to land right and worn-out character traits can make even the most eccentric plot lines fall flat.
Destination: Dewsbury is a quirky comedy produced and directed by Jack Spring and centers around five friends who have known each other since their high school days. Now all grown up and living their own lives, they learn their friend Frankie is dying from cancer, causing them to meet up one last time and journey on a crazy road trip.
The road trip is full of unforgettable experiences: Peter, the glue of the group, is a teacher at his old high school and has been recently dumped by his wife. Adam (who needs serious anger management) is a businessman with debt problems that come back to bite the whole group in the ass. Gaz is not the smartest cookie in the cookie jar and lastly there’s Smithy, the friend you feel sorry for who has never had a girlfriend.
The plot of the film is solely centered around getting to Frankie before he dies, as it’s mentioned he only has a week left to live. This may seem like an easy task but for these guys, not so much. The group get sidetracked by numerous events during the road trip which inevitably causes them to make it a day late.
What the film considers comedy is surely an acquired taste. While the story touches on issues like cancer, suicide, and marriage, it fails to be anything other than predictable. There are some scenes that are totally random and don’t fit with the rest of the story, like the out-of-place scenes with the “Nip Slip” Brothel that’s supposed to be a bed & breakfast.
All four men were written as different archetypes, each relatable to everyday people. Peter is the most relatable as a high school teacher and going through a divorce. Gaz who is not the smartest of the group, but what he lacks in brains he makes for it in charm. Smithy is the stereotypical “fat” friend of the group (sadly there is always a “fat friend” in the group), and Adam is the businessman who’s intolerably mean.
In the end, the guys finally get to Frankie house finding out he has a wife and kid they had no idea about, realizing how long it’s been since they’ve seen each other and how much of their lives they have missed. The film’s resolution was a bit strange as Frankie reveals secrets about the others –– including a huge secret about Adam and his friendship.
The budget for the film was only $150,000, and it shows — an absence of originality and unpredictability makes the film less entertaining than it potentially could have been. Overall, Destination: Dewsbury lacks the necessary visuals, soundtrack, acting, and strong storyline that make a successful comedy.