Review: The Long Dumb Road a comedic trip worth taking despite not entirely living up to its potential

Here’s a formula that sounds promising: take two scene-stealing actors (Tony Revolori, famous as “Zero the Lobby Boy” from The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Jason Mantzoukas, famous as Rosa’s insane boyfriend from Brooklyn Nine-Nine), put ’em in a road movie together, and don’t worry too much if the latter goes off script.

Sounds great, right? So, does it live up to its potential?

Ummmm … kinda.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a huge Mantzoukas fan (just listen to his hilarious bad-movie podcast How Did This Get Made? if you’re not yet a fan) and you’re dying to see what he does with a co-starring role in a feature film, than this is your birthday movie. Go watch this guy in action — he’s hilarious. And if you’ve never heard of Mantzoukas, you’ll certainly remember his bigger-than-life personality after this film. Revolori is also good, as the meekly patient teenager who gives hitchhiker Mantzoukas a lift and gets caught up in the wild man’s shenanigans. It’s a good dynamic, and the duo play off each other well.

Still, it might be wise to lower your expectations a bit. The “story” is little more than a series of encounters and occurrences, making The Long Dumb Road struggle to maintain its narrative drive.

Plus, only one of the two main characters has an arc. The shy student gets to open himself up to new experiences, learning the rewards and dangers of indulging the whims of a turbulent stranger. At the end, he has grown and gained confidence.

The hitchhiker, on the other hand, remains the same wild-eyed free spirit that we met at the start. He’s only there to give the boy someone to react to, and his final fate isn’t satisfying at all, even though it’s clearly meant to be. Although he experiences surprises and disappointments, we never think that he’s gone through any kind of significant change. We’re sure that tomorrow, he’ll have forgotten the whole adventure, and will just start all over again with the next college kid who offers him a ride.

So it’s not perfect, but see it anyway. It’s funny, it’s got heart, and the two leads are ridiculously talented.

The Long Dumb Road screens Saturday, Sept. 22 at 1:45 p.m. at Eau Claire 1, and Monday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Globe Cinema (downstairs). For tickets please go to

John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his websiteFacebookTwitter and through episodes of a program he’s doing with NUTV.