It's not often that I get suckered into a film by the advertising… ok, scratch that. I mean, who hasn't been taken in by a knock-out trailer, or a compelling TV spot? Hell, even a good poster can pique my curiosity, but still it came as a big surprise when I picked up Two Days based on, personal hero, Donal Logue's name appearing right after star Paul Rudd's on the cover. Now, while Donal is in the film, his total screen time probably accounts for about 5 minutes total. Still, even looking past my disappointment about the lack of Logue in Two Days, I still feel the film has several problems.
Two Days reeks of the kind of "indie" premise that went out of vogue just as American Independent films were coming into the mainstream. Paul (Paul Rudd) is an actor living in LA who just never made it. Not for not being talented which Paul definitely is, as evidenced by a later audition scene, but chalk it up to bad luck he was just never able to realize the dream. So, he decides to kill himself, but in true Hollywood fashion he decides to hire a film crew to document his last 48 hours o Earth. Part suicide note, part middle finger to those that didn't notice him when he was alive, Paul actually finds a group of people who don't think this is a bad idea and promise not stop him.
The film crew consists of the usual visionaries, burn-outs and lovable losers that the "indie" world often uses to represent itself. An added layer is introduced by the inclusion of two film students who are documenting the documentary… trust me, while I'm sure this was a good idea on paper, the shifting between all three perspectives doesn't offer us any additional insight into the characters or their situation. The same goes for all of Paul's friends, who the film crew secures on camera interviews with. While we learn that Paul's best friend and soap opera star, Stephen (Mackenzie Astin), is gay, we never learn what these two have in common, or why they're friends in the first place.
I guess this brings us to Donal Logue's cameo as one of Paul's friends who has recently risen to a studio position that would undoubtedly benefit Paul's career, but when he offers Paul his assistance and tells him he'll call him when he gets back from a business trip (and after the deadline for Paul's suicide), we can't really tell if he's being genuine or if it's simply a case of "have your people call my people" Hollywood talk. This happens again and again, and not just with Paul's friends but even amongst the film crew themselves. Constant bickering, infighting and creative differences erupt around the final hours of a depressed, confused and desperate man. The icing on the cake comes when the film's director, Stu (Adam Scott) has Paul's parents fly in and rather than being concerned that their son is going to kill himself, his Mother is more interested in meeting Stephen, her soap-opera heartthrob, and his Father is more interested in what spicy Jewish lunchmeat he ordered last time they ate at a Deli (Answer: Pastrami).
I'm not going to say whether he goes through with it or not, but suffice to say that he does eventually get the attention he so desperately craves in the end. Two Days tries to be a hip and darkly witty diatribe on nihilism and wasted talent, but like so many actual suicides, it just becomes a pointless exercise in selfishness. It's revealed that it's not Paul's lack of work, despite his talent, that drives him to the brink, but the demise of his most recent and rewarding relationship with Carrie (Melissa Stone) that is really the culprit. The rest of the characters that inhabit Paul's world are just as dubious, more thumbnail sketch than actual person. Even Stu, the one person who tries to stop Paul from killing himself, seems to be doing it just so that his film can have a happy ending.
Picture: Two Days is presented in a 16:9 widescreen presentation that looks good. There are apparently three different mediums being used throughout the film, but honestly the whole thing looks like it was shot on DV, with different framing effects on the screen to represent the three types of stock (film, video, digital). The image overall is sharp and clear with crisp colors and no film grain present.
Audio: The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track sounds fine, which is good since the movie is dialogue heavy, with just a few stabs at a musical score present.
Extras: There are no Extra Features on this DVD.
Conclusion: So, I admit I got taken in by the oldest trick in the book, but how could I have known that the biggest draw for this film would have been the presence of Donal Logue in it? The whole film within a film within a film concept, coupled with the reality show feel of the whole affair, puts Two Days way down on my list of recommendations. I'll go out on a limb and suggest it as a Rental for those with 90 minutes to kill and an affection for "everyman" actor, Paul Rudd.