For Kels. Years after I said I’d write this. The things I do for friends.
Have you ever watched Snack-Off on MTV? It’s basically a parody of every serious food competition. Instead of having professional chefs compete they have amateurs who make you doubt their life skills along with their cooking skills in the interview packages. Instead of using only the freshest ingredients, Snack-Off provides a pantry of processed junk real chefs whine about on Chopped. A comedian, a supermodel and one real chef serve as the panel of judges. As I’m watching this or rather, letting it play in the background as I work on other things, I can’t help, but feel bad for the one chef who works in and owns actual restaurants. He cringes at the crap put in front of him and even admitted to getting notes from the producers saying he’s too mean when judging. But then there are times where he takes a bite and he smiles a little and begrudgingly says it’s actually tasty even though he has no earthly idea why.
And that is how I feel about Girltrash: Up All Night.
Girltrash: Up All Night is a small budget musical comedy about five girls and one epic night filled with love, personal revelations, stoned sorority girls and one very unhappy gangster whose weapon of choice is a golf club. This is by no means a cinematic masterpiece. There are a number of distracting technical flaws from the poor sound quality to the sets and substandard editing that scream amateur work. There are so many aspects that plop Girltrash into the “bad movie” group, but I’d argue that being known as a “bad movie” isn’t such a bad thing. Am I totally aware of its flaws? Yes. Did it stop me from enjoying the movie? Not so much.
Before watching Girltrash for the first time, I wasn’t aware it was a musical. Honestly, I wasn’t aware what this movie was about at all. A friend of mine (Hey Kels, I hope you’re happy with yourself!) suggested/insisted/pressured me into watching it. The moment Daisy (Lisa Rieffel) starts singing for the first time and the random girl in bed with Tyler (Michelle Lombardo) says, “Why is she singing?” I knew I was in for something that would stick with me for a while.
A big part of my unabashed enjoyment of this movie stems from the air of nostalgia or something like nostalgia that surrounds it. The music isn’t groundbreaking in the least, but it’s definitely catchy and reminds me of the nobody pop rock bands I loved and lived for when I was thirteen. That’s also around the time I watched “The N” which was basically TeenNick and Viacom regurgitating Canadian television. Is it a coincidence I enjoyed this movie and it also starred South of Nowhere darlings, Gabrielle Christian and Mandy Musgrave as Colby and Misty? (South of Nowhere being one of the shows that played on The N.) Possibly.
The music is infectious. I die from laughter every time I hear the song “Fantasy Crush.” It details the main romantic thread of the movie and also functions as the central theme of the movie. A number of the characters choose fantasy over reality because it’s easier, because it hurts less, and spend this crazy night working through that. At its core, it’s a coming-of-age story for people in their 20s who don’t have it quite figured out yet. It’s also funny in the unrealistic, are-all-these characters-on-crack sort of way. By the time you’re watching scenes in the sorority house and one of the (so totally high) sorority sisters demonstrates a fake orgasm for Colby you’ll probably question what you’re watching and why you’re still watching it, but also have reached the point of no return and have no choice, but to continue on till the end.
I see a lot of movies that take themselves too serious and demand to be taken seriously. Girltrash doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not and I find that endearing in a weird sort of way. The simplicity of a group of friends having a crazy night is reminiscent of those movies that came out in the ’90s that weren’t exactly critically acclaimed, but still notably entertaining. Except I doubt those ’90s movies had as much drugs and as many open, out and proud lesbians as Girltrash does. I also doubt those ’90s movies had a Monique Shaniqua Jones (Rose Rollins), the movie’s central antagonist who delivers what might be one of the best high scenes I’ve seen. I laughed at the absolute absurdity of it all and I am not sorry.
The way I feel about this movie and a lot of movies of this nature is always difficult to explain. Hence, the Snack-Off analogy, which is the one thing that comes close. In a lot of ways, this movie is just like a ham sandwich stuffed with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It isn’t going to win Chopped, but it’s a good enough snack at 2 a.m. when you aren’t feeling picky and your friend pushes it over to you. By the way, I read somewhere that Snack-off gave Chrissy Teigen (the supermodel judge) an ulcer and a fast food addiction. Girltrash will not give you an ulcer, but it might leave you with a bad movie addiction and that is nothing to be ashamed of.