Monday, June 4, 2012
"Hang Loose" is a wildly funny buddy flick starring Kevin Wu (Kevjumba) and Dante Basco.
When the off-beat comedy flashes onto the wide screen, the audience is introduced to the main character “Kevin” (Wu) who has jetted off to Hawaii to attend his sister’s wedding.
Shortly after the naive lad touches down in the Island Paradise, the bachelor (he recently broke up with his steady girlfriend) is led astray by his naughty future brother-in-law (Basco).
Kevin plays the straight man – Dante’s foil, if you like – who quickly finds himself in an altercation at a local strip bar, at loggerheads with native gangsters, and what-have-you.
Though Kevjumba is famous for his zany antics on YouTube - and a myriad of other social hub sites – in “Hang Loose” his performance falls flat.
On the Internet in the rich media, his animated style works well – however – on celluloid at the local movie house he comes off kind of dull (not very photogenic, in fact).
To me, Wu appeared to be sleep-walking throughout the entire one-hundred-and twenty-or-so minutes of the storyl.
Personally, I was continually distracted by what appeared to be a plain ordinary face riddled with nasty skin eruptions here-there-and-everywhere.
Maybe it was the lighting?
When it comes to leading man status in a feature, Kevin just can't cut it in my estimation.
In contrast, Basco was hilarious, and is obviously destined to do well in the mainstream if he keeps plugging away.
"Hang Loose" is off-the-wall, spontaneous - and downright charming for the most part - due to a well-written script, quality acting by the supporting players, and excellent directing.
In particular, I was taken with the surprises which - more-often-than-not - sent the audience into gales of sides-splitting laughter.
"Were those segments off-the-cuff or written into the script," I quizzed Wu and Basco at the Q & A at the DGA a couple of weeks ago when the project first screened.
Wu underscored that those delightful celluloid moments were written in for a particular reason.
"My audience on the Internet has a short attention span. So, we devised those surprises to keep them watching."
Currently, Wu is developing projects for the web that are intended for 14 - 24 year-olds - he fessed up - when quizzed about his future plans in the biz.
The actors for "Hang Loose" are a mix of performers who act in legit movies, television, and the new rich media on the Internet.
The cast often referred to Basco as a "veteran", he joked, because he is a tad older and has kicked around the industry for a dozen years-or-so.
Unlike the old days - when actors were typecast - today the theatrical terrain is wide open.
For instance, at one time soap actors found it difficult to make the transition from daytime and night-time TV to feature film.
And, major stars rarely bothered to pursue gigs on the old boob tube.
Today, Academy Award-winning actors such as Dustin Hoffman and Shirley McClaine float between the mediums with ease without any slight being cast on their careers or reputations.
In view of that, it will be interesting to see if Internet hopefuls are able to land quality assignments in big budget studio projects with an eye to gaining a footing and a solid professional reputation in acting circles.
For Basco, that won't be any problem.
As for Wu, well, it may be iffy.
By the way, a sequel to "Hang Loose" may be on the way.
The creative team laughed that they might title it:
Posted by Julian Ayrs at 4:02 PM