With a cast like this, one might skip this film. But that would be a mistake. Yes, Justin (Drag Me to Hell, Jeepers Creepers) Long continues to play the clueless and lovable loser who gets the girl. And yes, Jess (The Good Wife, Teeth) Weixler plays said girl with some problems of her own. But it is surprisingly Tyler (Reaper, Flyboys) Labine who steals the show, quite literally, as the title character in Best Man Down. Do not be fooled by the marketing campaign or the theatrical trailer for this film. It is far from a "romantic comedy," as much as it would have you believe. It is in fact, a quite depressing, albeit heartfelt story about one man's search for happiness. And said man's friends' quest to understand why he did the things he did in the final months of his life.
Being the exact opposite of what you would expect, this film starts with both a wedding and a death. First time director Ted Koland sets the main character up as a likable yet obnoxious stereotypical drunken idiot, but before the audience can form a full opinion, he does the unthinkable in a comedy: he kills him off. What follows is a series of awkward, heart-breaking, and bluntly realistic series of seemingly unrelated events, as the newlyweds who are prepared to spend their honeymoon on their best man's dime instead prepare his funeral arrangements and try to find out just what happened the night of their wedding. This leads them on an impromptu road trip that is nothing like what it seems.
Addison (Stand Up Guys, That Awkward Moment) Timlin also shines as a promising yet troubled teenager with a connection to the recently deceased law school dropout-turned-bartender-turned-homeless fisherman. It is upon delivering news of his death to this young mysterious girl that the newlyweds realize that they in fact knew nothing about their supposed best man. The tragedy is amplified through flashbacks that show the real story little by little, leading to a somewhat predictable yet equally satisfying revelation just before his wake. A poignant final moment where all of the loose ends are tied nicely and neatly will leave very few eyes dry. This is the work of a writer and director who will be around for decades to come.