SYNOPSIS: After their buddy suffers an unfortunate accident during spring break, four pals risk everything -- including their dignity -- to make him whole again.
‘The Package’ was formerly known as ‘The Eggplant Emoji’, which is a mildly more accurate representation of where this teen comedy goes. Briefly put, this ridiculous, raunchy but uproarious romp sees five teenagers head into the wilderness for a spring break camping trip, only to have one of them in his state of inebriation accidentally slice his penis off with his own butterfly knife while taking a piss. From that basic premise, director Jake Szymanski and co-writers Kevin Burrows and Matt Mider concoct a series of rapidly escalating hijinks as his friends rush against time to reunite the severed appendange with its hospitalised owner, before the window to surgically re-attach it closes for good.
Said victim is Jeremy (Eduardo Franco), a happy-go-lucky Indian American who resembles Pocahontas (we’re not being racist, mind you, we’re just quoting someone in the movie) and has a twin sister named Becky (Geraldine Viswanathan). To celebrate their nice-guy buddy Sean’s (Daniel Doheny) return from overseas studies in Germany, Jeremy had planned a guys-only trip with their neurotic pal Donnie (Luke Spencer Roberts). Alas Jeremy’s parents insist that he bring Becky along after she had abruptly broken up with her boyfriend, and Becky’s best friend Sarah (Sadie Calvano), whom Donnie used to be dating before, end up coming along for the journey. Oh and did we mention that Sean has a big crush on Becky, although he previously blew his chance to get together with her after suffering an unexpected ‘boner’.
As you can imagine, these relationships define the back-and-forth which goes on among the group throughout the movie, and it is not hard to imagine that Sean and Becky will finally hit it off, or that Donnie will eventually patch things up with Sarah. Before you think that Jeremy is the sad-sack who gets left out of a romantic arc, he actually claims to have a hot online girlfriend named Kendall Jenners, although it’s clear why his friends think he’s simply catfishing and that there is no such person with that name. To the credit of each one of these teen actors, they do an admirably consistent job staying in character throughout the film, which goes a long way in getting us to root for them while they sort out their respective complications along the route.
But of course, the highlights here are the numerous gross-out gags, most of which unsurprisingly revolve around the penis – one of these has Sean ‘sucking out the venom’ from where a snake has bitten the penis; another sees the teenagers whip out a penis in front of a foul-mouthed young boy who asks to see Becky and Sarah ‘scissor’ in exchange for a favour; yet another involves an army-veteran-turned-shopkeeper clinically cleaning the penis for who he assumes is a fellow army vet; and last but not least there is a bit of a mix-up with a cheating guy whose psychotic girlfriend had deliberately snipped off his penis after tying him up in bed. The jokes veer from the verbal to the physical over the course of the movie, and the set-pieces get ever more outrageous as the teenagers try to locate just which hospital Jeremy is in.
That’s not counting the occasions when the titular package inadvertently pops out of the cooler in full view, and let’s just say the number of times that happens suggests the filmmakers were absolutely proud of their prop. Notwithstanding, there is just enough aw-shucks sentimentality to balance the grossness of it all, and Szymanski succeeds fairly well in sustaining the pace and momentum of the hijinks slightly over an hour and a half. We’re ashamed to say that we enjoyed ‘The Package’ a lot more than we expected ourselves to, in part because we went into it with little to no expectation; gather a couple of buddies, grab a couple of beers, and you might just find too that this package indeed delivers.
Review by Gabriel Chong