CollegeHumor has been one of the premiere comedy websites since practically the internet got super popular. Before YouTube, before Twitter, before Facebook, before MySpace, there was CollegeHumor providing some of the best comedic content during the initial internet boom. Almost 15 years after CollegeHumor launched, they’ve thrown their hat into the film industry with Coffee Town. However, with standards and practices dictating what can and can’t be shown in a feature film, will CollegeHumor’s brand of comedy translate well into this new frontier?
Director: Brad Copeland
Release Date: July 9, 2013 (VOD)
Affected by the economic downturn that took his comfortable office job, Will (Glenn Howerton) found himself employed as a website manager. However, with the freedom that the job brings comes a lack of human interaction, so Will takes residence at a local coffee shop, the titular Coffee Town. While stationing his workplace at the shop comes with its benefits, including free wi-fi, his friends Chad’s (Steve Little) and Gino’s (Ben Schwartz) ability to visit him daily, and getting a glimpse of his crush, Becca (Adrianne Palicki). However, all good things come with the bad, such as Will’s arch-nemesis/barista Sam (Josh Groban). When a plan is proposed to turn Coffee Town into a bistro, threatening Will’s comfortable working conditions, he decides to take drastic measures to prevent change from happening.
Coffee Town is presented as a modern, Office Space-esque comedy that illustrates how our economy has affected business. It doesn’t get preachy by any means, but it definitely touches on the human element of being displaced following the recession. Copeland and the cast buoy this with an outlandish, selfish scheme that helps characterize Will and his friends. However, I would have appreciated more of this emotional slant from Will. There are scenes where he opens up to Becca about why he feels so connected to Coffee Town, and that level of depth could have helped shape the film better.
The problem I had with Coffee Town is that it doesn’t really take risks. As I alluded to a bit when we posted the first trailer, I hoped the best jokes weren’t already shown. Well, as it turns out, they were. CollegeHumor have a tendency to push the envelope, and that’s something I wish was utilized more in Coffee Town. Sure, there are a few risque moments, like the hilarious “gay/straight” scene seen in the trailer and a ridiculous fight scene that missed its mark, but I would have liked to seen something more edgy.
Maybe it’s because of how talented and funny the cast is. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of my favorite shows and Ben Schwartz’ Jean-Ralphio is a scene stealer whenever he’s on Parks and Recreation, so pairing them together came with a lot of expectations that weren’t met. It’s understandable that CollegeHumor would want to play it safe for their debut film, but I was just expecting something more grandiose, both in scope and hilarity.