Before We Vanish by Steven Warner Film

Guest House | Sam Macaroni

Credit: Lionsgate

One of 2020’s greatest mysteries is how a film like Guest House received funding? Ostensibly conceived as a star vehicle for the Laurence Olivier of ‘90s high-concept comedies — which could only ever refer to former MTV VJ Pauly Shore — perhaps the producers thought invoking a little Gen-X nostalgia would guarantee some sort of audience. Strangely, then, Shore barely features in this shitshow of a film, truly one of the worst things to be released in ages, and its stable of writers — including, of all people, Mr. Boondock Saints himself, Troy Duffy — seem to have forgotten what was so appealing about The Weasel in the first place: his babe-in-arms likeability. He was easy to root for throughout his family-friendly, PG-13-rated antics, all surfer-speak and good-guy vibes. 

The Shore on display in Guest House is a drug addict prone to fits of misogyny and gay panic, all of his actions needlessly mean-spirited until the film’s deplorable ending, where his character suddenly does an about-face because, hey, people love Hallmark films. That’s not to say that anyone in this film is the least bit tolerable, and certainly not the lead “protagonists”: Blake (Mike Castle) and Sarah (Aimee Teegarden) are a happily engaged couple who buy their dream home and end up inadvertently becoming landlords to Randy Cockfield (Shore), a burn-out who lives in the guest house. The film sets up an epic battle between the straight-laced couple and the carefree Randy, but it takes literally half of the film’s brief 84-minute running time to finally reach this point, and there’s no clear reason for the feet-dragging; a lot of full-frontal female nudity and jokes about overweight women take up most of the unpalatable downtime.

 Once the film finally gets down to its apparent business, it presents a series of comedic set-pieces that are impressive for the sheer ineptitude with which they are executed. To regard director Sam Macaroni’s filmmaking as even passable would be an act of intellectual charity. A lot of slow-motion is employed, which only works here to further draw out unfunny situations and allow the viewer to zero in on what is wrong (which, it turns out, is everything). “Star-studded” cameos from the likes of Steve-O and Lou Ferrigno and Billy Zane fail to make much of an impact because they are given nothing to do; and they know it, mostly looking like they would rather be anywhere else. Chris Kattan’s brief appearance as a delivery man, however, is so absolutely insane that it almost has to be seen to be believed (although that’s not recommended). Kato Kaelin has had more fun in a guest house than any viewer unfortunate enough to stumble upon this abomination. The Weez deserves better.


Published as part of Before We Vanish | September 2020.

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