Fresh from the premiere of their debut feature at this year’s Sundance, WTF comedy duo Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe (Greener Grass and The Arrival) return to Short of the Week with Buzz. Directed by Mitch Magee, this bizarre tale of (extremely) codependent friends whose strong bond is put to the test by a love interest, once again showcases the pair as rising stars of the comedy scene, as their distinct tone and unforgettable style makes this a short impossible to ignore.
From the big picture to the smallest details, everything in Buzz is carefully thought out and comes together on the screen to create a film with a unique aesthetic. The location choice perfectly captures how sheltered from the world Pauline and Georgette are and the set design, paired with the pretty Mad Men era costumes, hair and make-up depicts how perfect and idyllic their lives seem to be. The cinematography magnifies those aspects, making the watching experience feel like feasting on eye candy and the sharp editing compliments the narrative and the progression of the film.
I will confess that Buzz got on my radar because of the Gulp Splash (DeBoer and Luebbe’s production company) footprint. The pair’s specific brand of comedy is very well present in Buzz, with the borderline surreal narrative exactly what you expect, yet still full of surprises. The quirkiness of the piece is ramped to the max, with the brilliant performances and snappy dialogue (“hand me the turkey” definitely left its mark on me) delivered pitch perfect by DeBoer and Luebbe. Yes it’s overly dramatic, but don’t write that off as an easy thing to do. There’s a necessary subtlety to overdoing it and this duo have it nailed.
The narrative is not the first thing you want to talk about after watching the film, but after a few minutes, I realized that this tale of a strong (probably too strong) and definitely unhealthy friendship is surprisingly relatable. Friends can be possessive, jealous of the person who takes their friend away. The film caricatures and pushes this idea to the limit using the ridicule of the situation for comedic purposes, because we might as well laugh at those insane circumstances. I also have to say that the last shot felt like the cherry on top, the perfect way to wrap the story.
Winners of a 2019 Short of the Week award in the WTF! category with Greener Grass, DeBoer and Luebbe adapted that short into a feature length film with the same title and are currently touring the festival circuit with it. Catch it at SXSW if you’re in Austin or keep an eye out for it at a festival near you.