If you have seen Mystery Teamthen you will immediately understand the tone Daniel C. Davis aims for with his second feature film directorial effort and third screenwriter credit, Slagtestrand. Of course, such a comparison is not a bad thing, since “imitation is the most sincere form of flattery,” or so they say. The Derrick Comedy title is brilliantly funny and heartfelt, so anything that skews close to it is at least ambitious in the right way.
Barry (Ethan Han) and his best friend, Ralph (Jon McKoy), are two wayward young adults with no ambition to do anything. Their complete lack of responsibility drives Barry’s father (Oscar Aguilar) up the wall, so he throws them out of his house until they find work. The duo’s search for employment leads them all through the city, causing them to end up in the middle of a crime scene.
“…the search for employment leads them all throughout the city, causing them to end up in the middle of a crime scene. “
Barry and Ralph notice all the store closures and missing people, so they find out what their job should be – crime for rent for only 25 cents per. sag. Unfortunately, the two are not very skilled or athletic, so their fight against crime constantly ends in failure. But following all the killings, they came to blows with the killer, Fish Man Sam (Jim Cannatelli). Can these two sympathetic doofuses get together long enough to survive until the morning, or are they dead and just do not know yet?
There is a certain charm inside Slagtestrand leading the film to the finish line despite a handful of issues. To begin with, Barry and Ralph are simply too stupid for the story to work properly. They see an officer wiping an area off with the yellow warning tape, which clearly accuses something terrible that had happened. They are completely untouched by this, which is great for the ongoing gag that their observation skills are piss poor. But that raises the question of why they think they would be good at fighting crime in the first place.
See, the other problem with Barry and Ralph is that they’re flat. They like board games a lot and that’s about the only thing that’s for them. As such, it’s hard to identify their inspiration to become superheroes, and goes so far as to bear the names Awesome Boy and Bludgeon Man, respectively. This interruption between what is displayed and how leads act damages production in general.