The genius of Astron-6, the crew who released the controversial Father’s Day in 2012, is that you really feel their works are a labour of love. Unlike, say Poolboy: Drowning out the Fury, they don’t just don a funny wig and wag their fingers at the clichés of the 80s in a snarky fashion. Rather, they embrace those clichés and tropes to add colour to their dark, comedic landscapes. And for proof, look no further than their short film, Cool Guys.
Cool Guys is the tale of two nerds, Chad (Conor Sweeney) and Rick (Matthew Kennedy) looking forward to using their summer holiday as a chance to reinvent themselves as players. Cool guys, if you will. With Uncle Murphy in tow (Adam Brooks), they hit the beach, attempting to meet girls and avoid the steely glare of the Mayor’s son (Falcon van der Baek).
If you love your 80s nostalgia, than the last paragraph will sound like any number of teen comedies from that era from Meatballs to Revenge of the Nerds. The twist, for want of a better word, of Cool Guys is the halfway gear change when directorial duties appear to pass from John Hughes to David Lynch.
An act of debauchery (well, several in fact) is so sudden that it’ll take a while to process. Unfortunately, Cool Guys’ short running time doesn’t let you and as we enter the third act, Chad and Rick’s noble actions become tainted in light of what we know. The film having already played with, and destroyed, our expectation of 80s movies, now wants us to go back to what we though before. And to put it bluntly, it’s a mindfuck. It’s like watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, after discovering Ferris and Cameron were pimping out Sloane around Chicago the whole time.
We enjoyed Cool Guys from beginning to end, we just wish we could shake this sense of feeling oh so dirty.