Long story short, Nardo is naked and afraid, Jason is idiotic and uninhabited in his quest to save his friend, and Evan is the middle-man of the gang, facing a work deadline as well as trying to save one friend. It’s a lot of hanging wires for a film that runs a slender 93 minutes, and it makes one heck of a long opening paragraph of a review.
Search Party really takes its time to set up the chess pieces of the plot, it takes close to half an hour to get the remaining friends on the road to save their buddy, and it feels worryingly heavy with half-jokes and non-sequiturs rather than any weight to the jokes, characters or situations, but as the journeys of the three men go on, the world around them feels like its being built brick by brick, until a rock-solid house is crafted to nail jokes into.
It helps that beyond the core trio there’s an exceptional cast of improv comics and funny actors, like Alison Brie, Jason Mantzoukas, Jon Glaser, Brian Huskey, Garfunkel & Oates, Lande Reddick and an exceptionally enjoyable J.B. Smoov as a definitely Spanish drug dealer named Berk. They pepper flavour throughout the film, be it in small moments or entire sequences (Krysten Ritter and Jason Mantzoukas as a very horrible couple who seem to make a business out of picking idiots at magic shows and then stealing their kidneys and letting them bleed out steal the spotlight for a 10 minute sequence that is inspired in its nihlism and dark dark comedy simultaneously) but don’t outshine the enjoyable leads.
Search Party is likely to be derided by many people, but the tone is surprisingly dark and angry, but the jokes are very funny and furious, if low-brow. Its charm comes from Pally’s less-than-slobbish character, a rare sight for him, and Miller’s now common extreme jerk character, and Middleditch’s awkward but focussed Nardo, who resembles his Silicon Valley role more than one would expect knowing how versatile he can be in situations, but why change what works?
Search Party, in the right mood and head-space, works, tremendously well. It’s nasty and icky and vile and vulgar and hysterical, the last half hour is especially sublime stuff. Well worth hunting for. That’s a search-based wordplay half-joke, if you couldn’t tell, because it wasn’t particularly well written. Thankfully, mind, the film is.