By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on May 09, 2014

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Dear Brian Bell
Unit Production Manager

Dear Brian,

Few people realize that Unit Production Managers are supposed to appear first in a film's end credits. Assuming, of course, that all the "above the line" actors and crew are in an opening credit sequence. It's one of those staunch union rules about respecting the hierarchy--the kind that made George Lucas quit the Director's Guild of America after making Star Wars. The sort of rule you might expect in a fraternity. And you know all about that now, don't you?

While actors melt down and producers pull out their hair, you're usually in a nearby trailer, keeping the production afloat. In this sense, you're like the Zac Efron character in this movie (don't get too excited); he may be the face (and abs) of his Delta Psi frat house, but he's also a cunning negotiator who makes sure to appease the neighbors by greasing the right palms (and abs) so that he and his brothers can host their end-of-the-year dream party. Which, like most productions, starts off with a lot of promise, even when he meets his desperate-to-not-seem-lame new-parent neighbors. But that sort of civil order can't last, or else there wouldn't be a movie. And, equally, no need for people like you on set.

This being a Seth Rogan vehicle, the antics inevitably get juvenile. Farts are fanned, dope is smoked, breasts are milked, and homoeroticism reigns supreme. It gets to the point where a frat-saving scheme involves the boys raising $10,000 by selling dildo molds of their unnaturally different sized penises.

Like I said, you and Efron: unit production managers.

But it all makes sense. Frat house humour belongs in a frat house film. And as far as comedy goes, it does deliver a few good laughs. Efron doesn't have an ounce of Channing Tatum's conviction or comic timing, but at least he forewent the need for a personal make-up artist this time around. No room in the budget, I assume?

Rose Byrne even does her best to play along with the boys, but you can tell that writers Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien are often unsure of what to do with her. But at least they've made an effort to avoid the cliche of making the woman the wet blanket. Best to leave that job to you.

Signing off, after you,


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