The Long Dumb Road is a pretty straightforward premise. The film is a comedy where two dudes with very different personalities go on a road trip.The Long Dumb Road isn’t a complex story to get – but that helps it get to the point. The film gets right into its subject matter, and it’s what makes it a fun watch.
Tony Revolori (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Dope) plays Nat, a student going off to college. Car troubles interrupt his trip, and the only one who can help is Richard, played by Jason Mantzoukas (How Did This Get Made?, Big Mouth). From there, the duo sets off for Los Angeles, each hoping for a new life.
The story is more like a series of vignettes, a bunch of road trips that happen to involve the same two people.The Long Dumb Road starts with a fairly predictable story – Richard takes a detour to reconnect with a former lover. However, that storyline is over and done within the first half hour, wrapping up in a satisfying way. The next hour is similar – some fairly predictable beats, but without any fluff or filler. The road trip tropes are hit so efficiently that the film stays fresh.
A huge part of what keeps The Long Dumb Road rolling is its stars. It’s great to see Mantzoukas get a starring role, after years of killing the comedy game. Mantzoukas lends his trademark high energy to Richard, but with a genuine human touch. The craziness of Richard is well-balanced by Revolori’s film kid Nat. Nat’s straight-man act, rooted in all too real artsy stereotypes, bounces off Richard so well. The acting duo slays with their instant chemistry.
While the to-the-point storytelling keeps momentum going, the film sometimes feels fragmented. Not every emotional beat gets explored to their full potential. While Nat recognizes he comes from privilege, he never really reckons with it. He just decides to not be privileged anymore – more to do with Ron Livingston’s Francois than his relationship with Richard. Likewise, Richard’s emotional development – dealing with his self-hatred and fast fall into relationships – gets dropped. It’s nice to see them get happy endings, but it’s not clear why they should get them.
That said,The Long Dumb Road‘s direction helps smooth over the bumpy story beats. Hannah Fidell (6 Years, Casual) does great work with the story, infusing it with a grounded feel. Fidell helps the talented stars keep the story’s pace, with no beats lasting too long. The quick pace also contains great bits along the road – like the continuously buggy car, and the drive-thru rant. Fidell’s direction keeps The Long Dumb Road short and sweet.
The Long Dumb Road is a fast-paced pleasure. Mantzoukas and Revolori anchor the film, and their journey flows effortlessly. While there’s always more to explore with any movie universe, The Long Dumb Road keeps you entertained all the way to L.A.