Devolved (2010)

  • Time: 90 min
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: John Cregan
  • Cast: Gary Entin, Lindsey Shaw, Robert Adamson

Storyline:

Devolved is a racy teen satire that follows a group of high schoolers on an ill-fated whale watching trip who find themselves stranded on a deserted island off the Mexican Coast.

One comment

  • High school movie comedies have been around for quite a while now. Some have gone on to become classics in the history of film. And with all good things come the rejects and usually they outnumber them. With the start of the 21rst century, more and more TV networks produced movies like these. Disney channel’s best known film in this vein was High School Musical (2006). It was so popular, it spawned two more sequels after that. Rival network Nickelodeon also had a popular show called Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Although that did not produce a movie after its series end, the actors that took part in the shows have gone on to perform in projects somewhat like it. Actor Devon Werkheiser did that in the film Shredderman Rules (2007). That feature did not break new ground either. This movie on the other hand is the jump off point for actress Lindsey Shaw from the same show. Unfortunately moving away from what made one popular can be difficult to leave. This movie may not be far from the genre Shaw came from but the tone is much different.

    The story is about a group of high school teenagers that get stranded on an island near the cost of Mexico. Fearing they might be stuck there longer than expected, one group of teens decide to prepare for the worst, while another group decides to live it up. John Cregan worked as the writer and director to this project. Cregan’s experience lends more to editing in documentary shorts but has directed other projects. However this was the only feature film he directed and wrote. He also wrote for one other film, that being Plague Town (2008). When producing a movie, it is important to understand that writing and directing is not easy unless one is exceptionally competent. For newcomer filmmakers, doing these tasks could affect the outcome of the overall film. This seems to be the case here. As a comedy, there are moments of creativeness and some characters are likeable. Yet the script has parts that are too overused and unclear explanations associated with certain events. This is where the story truly suffers. The actors try but the screenplay is really derivative.

    Of the group of teens, there were two leaders. Flynn (Gary Entin), a shy writer is the guy who points the way for all other reject introverts. Roger AKA “The Rog” (Robert Adamson) is the top dude for all the popular teen extroverts. Playing the bridge between these two groups is Peggy (Lindsey Shaw), who is also the girlfriend of Roger. Aside from these actors there are only a few other distinct characters. Chet (Kevin M. Horton), a socially awkward guy who hopes to win over Becky (Shannon Freyer), a ditsy popular girl. Chris Kattan plays Coach Papillion but all he does is mumble gibberish. Other than these supporting roles, the rest of the actors and their characters are rather forgettable. This is due to how exaggerated they are depicted. All the introverts stay quiet and act logical to some degree. Meanwhile the extraverts love nothing more than to engage in partying, drinking and fornication. That’s already too familiar, but even worse is that these characters follow their leader blindly. Nobody thinks for themselves until the script calls for it.

    There are also moments that don’t add anything to plot. In one scene, a teen broadcasts to a group about the current weather forecast. Who cares and how are you going to know without the right equipment? Why bother? Regrettably these outweigh the good parts to this film. Yet there are moments that show some kind of creativeness was there. Although much of the characters are either forgettable or too stupid to like, there are a couple that have some appeal. Gary Entin as Flynn isn’t initially a strong protagonist but over time he does gain some confidence. Lindsey Shaw as Peggy is another semi-relatable character. At first, she’s a part of the socially accepted teens but has doubts to begin with. Even the Chet and Becky characters have some charisma. That’s as far as it goes for the cast though. For comedy, it’s hit and miss. Much of humor relies on the antics that surface between the teen factions. This is where it fails most of the time because of how over done it is. Nonetheless there are occasionally a scene or two that feel like thought was put into it.

    The technical aspects to this feature are also split on quality. The cinematography by Eric Zimmerman is more disengaging than it is the opposite. There’s two problems with his work. The first is that in a number of scenes, the lens will zoom in and out frequently. The point of that is? If the lens needs adjusting, that should be done before director Cregan says “action”. The second issue is the color pallet, which has a drained look. There are plenty of bright scenes but several of them lack a defining color. Majority of the time the overall background color is yellow and brown. It’s not a pretty mix. Musically, the film score is something a little more enjoyable. However credit can’t even be given to the person for the music because nobody was listed. What makes up the music to some scenes vary at times. Sometimes it’s of guitar and rock. Other times it’s the quick comic cues that help make a scene funnier. This isn’t always apparent but it is noticeable at times. Since this wasn’t released in large numbers, there’s no chance a score was released.

    Unless one doesn’t mind really silly teen comedies, this film will please little and few between. It has a couple interesting characters but much of them are written too lazily. Only a few have development arcs. The comedy works infrequently and the cinematography isn’t that pleasing.

    Points Earned –> 4:10

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