Does anyone remember The Naked Brothers Band, the early 2000’s Nickelodeon show starring Nat and Alex Wolff? Well, both actors went on to their own fame, but have reunited in the new romantic dramedy Stella’s Last Weekend under the helm of their mother, Polly Draper.
The film follows two brothers who have reunited after one of them has gone off to college. Drama ensues when it is discovered that the younger brother is dating a girl on whom the older brother used to have a crush. Meanwhile, the family dog is dying, and their mother is planning a last hoorah for the dog’s final weekend before passing.
Ultimately, the movie is enjoyable, but there’s too much going on for it to be effective. There are three main storylines composed of five character arcs to follow, and after a while, it just begins to feel chaotic. Unfortunately, this also causes some storylines to take precedence over others, as the love triangle dominates the film, with the far more interesting family dynamics and pet storylines being overshadowed.
The movie also had issues with consistency. Some scenes felt incredibly realistic. For example, the interactions between the two brothers were great (it would almost be embarrassing if they weren’t). However, the interactions between the mother and her sons felt a tad artificial. This may have to do with the fact that the film was written by Draper to star her real-life sons. It is as if she was writing those scenes to what she wished the relationship would be, not what it was.
That being said, the film is still highly enjoyable. The reason that the love triangle is such a recurring storyline is that it is tried-and-true. This type of movie is compelling and resonates with audiences. The story doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does a solid job of embracing those tropes and using them to its advantage.
There is also quite a bit of comedy in the film. The humor isn’t really in the dialogue, though— the film instead relies predominantly on situational comedy and the awkwardness created as a result. As such, not all of the comedic elements are going to land as well with everyone.
The execution of the movie isn’t bad, but it isn’t anything spectacular, either. The love triangle storyline doesn’t exactly call for elaborate cinematography. However, the other storylines that were deeper could have used a bit of flair. However, the use of music is good, as the score establishes the tone and pacing of the film well.
The cast is the best part of the film. The chemistry that the actors have together is amazing, as would be expected. Nat Wolff, Alex Wolff, and Polly Draper are all likable and charming in their roles. They can add more emotional depth, although not enough to account for the thin script.
Overall, Stella’s Last Weekend is an enjoyable romantic comedy, but some of its narrative shortcomings hold it back. The performances alone make the film worthwhile, though.
Stella’s Last Weekend opens in select theaters October 12 and hits digital platforms October 23.