Buds for Life (DVD Review)29 Jun, 2008 By: Pete Croatto
Prebook 7/3/08; Street 8/5/08
Stars Kate Vernon, Roark Critchlow, Eddie Griffin Jr., Cathy Doe, Donn Swaby, Eugene Byrd.
The friendship of four young men is put to the test in Buds for Life, an amiable, low-budget Los Angeles comedy from veteran actor and director Gabriel Bologna (The Trench, Girrl).
Dante (Swaby of NBC's “Passions”) is an ambitious intern at a law firm, where his amorous boss and fianc?e (Vernon of TV's “Battlestar Galactica”) may or may not have hooked up with his friend Pooch (Patton). Aside from that awkward situation, Pooch's love of the ladies — he has a Bob Crane-like collection of video tapes to prove it — is stalling his life.
Meanwhile, roommates Paul (Byrd of 8 Mile) and Weed (Griffin Jr.) have their own problems. Responsible and thoughtful Paul can't get over the controlling girlfriend he left behind in New York, while Weed's love of pot and Natalie Portman is all-consuming.
Buds for Life is not without its surprising charms. Without resorting to whining or chest-thumping, Bologna and writer Swaby paint a sometimes stirring portrait of young adulthood. Also, the young cast (especially Byrd) is very appealing.
A few obstacles keep the movie from being a total success, namely Weed's tiresome red-eyed antics, which play like outtakes from an unwatchable Friday sequel, and the plot's complete lack of surprise: You can practically see the boys' romantic possibilities take shape before the credits roll.
If fans of movies that take a lighter look at the quarter-life crisis (The Best Man, Swingers) can overlook these flaws, they should find enough to make Buds for Life a worthwhile rental.