“Dinner with Friends,” a new comedy starring Malin Akerman and Kat Dennings now on VOD, is a Hollywood Hills friends and family farce that seems to have done much of its casting at the nearby Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip.
Dennings and Akerman are Abby and Molly, BFFs who have both recently split with their significant others. After declaring she would love her to “the moon and back,” Abby’s girlfriend left abruptly and Molly is now a single mom after her four-year marriage imploded. Their plan to spend a quiet Thanksgiving is turned upside down when Molly’s one-night-stand (Jack Donnelly) blossoms into a relationship and decides to crash their party.
From there the party grows and grows as word gets out of a Friendsgiving at Molly’s house. Her touchy-feely mom Helen (Jane Seymour) arrives, fresh off her fifth divorce, and gets friendly with Molly’s old boyfriend (Ryan Hansen). Then there’s an assortment of characters like self-described “shawoman” Claire (Chelsea Peretti), the hemorrhoid obsessed Rick (Andrew Santino) and Lauren (Aisha Tyler) who shows up with her husband (Deon Cole), two kids and a stash of magic mushrooms.
Predictably, things swing out of control as friends, family and ex-lovers collide. There’s even a trio of “Fairy Gay Mothers” (Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster) who descend to offer Abby some life advice.
“Dinner with Friends,” called “Friendsgiving” in the United States, is an all-out farce with a heart of gold. By the time the end credits roll the movie reveals itself not to be about a randy mother figure or a friend’s psychedelic trip. Ultimately, it’s a story of healing and working through dysfunction. Along the way, however, are enough raunchy jokes to curdle your eggnog. It’s an old formula and despite some winning performances—many from the stand-up comics who migrated down from the Comedy Store—it feels as stale as Thanksgiving’s left-over stuffing.