Echo Boomers is a gratingly stupid film that is content to settle for mindless superficial strokes.
“A true story…if you believe in such things.” So goes the opening text of Echo Boomers, a snarky and reductive bid at social commentary, satisfied to be yet another in a long line of highly-stylized Boondock Saints –wannabes. Director and co-writer Seth Savoy, making his feature film debut, seems to earnestly believe that his film has something of note to say about modern millennials, a generation given the proverbial shaft by its capitalism-worshipping forefathers. Drowning in a sea of student loan debt and with little to no job opportunities, what is a twenty-something supposed to do if not steal from the 1% and destroy their possessions as some sort of political statement? That’s the path taken by Lance Zutterland (Patrick Schwarzenegger) and his group of cohorts as they set out to make some cash and take back what is rightfully theirs. Yet, the rub: why exactly do these self-satisfied assholes think they deserve anything? Echo Boomers is a film of such impressive stupidity that it never once thinks to address such a potentially incisive question — foregoing the chance to drill down into a few different theses, such as the tension between an increasingly-embraced post-capitalist ideology and an internet-era-raised generation’s collective pathology of entitlement — opting instead to mindlessly revel in the group’s debauchery and paint them as some sort of twisted, modern-day Robin Hoods: steal from the rich and give to themselves.
In fairness, the irony doesn’t go entirely unnoticed, as the title itself refers to how money is a corrupting power that trickles down from one generation to the next, infecting even our loveable “heroes.” In a scene of pure chutzpah, one of the guys goes to a fancy restaurant and laments how the waiter is a struggling father desperately trying to make money to support his family after losing his job, before proceeding to treat him as subhuman when the poor guy attempts to remove a plate too early. However, as one character artlessly states at film’s end, “You are not just an echo of those that came before you. Your generation uses less tobacco and alcohol and is more diverse, thus more accepting of others.” This whole thing plays something like Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring sans satire, and the result is about as cringy as that description promises. It doesn’t help that the cast is uniformly awful, with Schwarzenegger possessing none of his father’s screen presence or charisma, while Alex Pettyfer pops up to remind us why he went away in the first place. Poor Michael Shannon is on hand as well, but considering this film was shot in his hometown of Chicago, let’s just choose to believe that he either wanted to make a convenient quick buck or owed the producers a favor. In either case, his considerable screen presence is wasted in this dud. Oh, and a little research reveals that this isn’t any sort of true story at all — how very Coens-esque. Now, kindly fuck off, Echo Boomers.
Published as part of Before We Vanish | November 2020.