Changeland is a new dramedy film that serves as the directorial debut of comedian Seth Green (Robot Chicken, the Austin Powers series). It stars Green and Breckin Meyer (Road Trip, Clueless) as two best friends who have drifted apart that go on a trip to Thailand together on a trip that was meant to celebrate one of their anniversaries in a failing marriage.
When you look at the various roles Green has portrayed over the course of his career, you would expect his debut as a director to be something crude and straightforward. Surprisingly, that is not the case, as this is actually a rather nuanced film about a man experiencing a crisis in his life. Although the ground that Green is exploring has been tread before, his perspective is entertaining and intriguing nonetheless.
Part of the reason why the film works well is that its protagonist is quite compelling. Towards the beginning of the film, it seems like he is going to be an underwhelming and superficial protagonist, but as he experiences growth over the course of his arc, you begin to like him more and more. The supporting characters in the film are pretty archetypal, but they do a solid job of giving the protagonist further development. Some are frustratingly underused, particularly the female characters, but others are very interesting.
Additionally, the film is quite well-paced as a result of its effective balance of the film’s tones. There are plenty of laughs to be had throughout, but also tons of moments that are sure to warm your heart. Some of the film’s comedic moments don’t land as well as others — especially those involving a recurring gag of the two leads being mistaken for a homosexual couple — but much of the film will have you chuckling. Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin gets some very funny moments in his supporting role.
Much like the story, the themes the film addresses aren’t anything particularly new. As you can probably figure out from the title, the main theme of the film is accepting change. The main arc involves the protagonist coming to accept that his marriage is toxic, but Meyer’s character must also learn to accept the changes in his friendship with the protagonist. The film isn’t super profound in what it has to say, but its message is still very resonant regardless.
The actors in the film all do a very good job in their roles. Green gives a very good performance in his leading role. He is definitely playing out-of-type, giving a turn that is much more dramatic, with the supporting characters having a majority of the comedic moments. His chemistry with Meyer is great, really selling the friendship aspect of the film. The rest of the supporting cast doesn’t get as much screen time, but they are very funny, including Culkin and Brenda Song.
On a technical level, the film was surprisingly strong given the fact that the script has a very indie comedy feel to it. The film is set in Thailand, and the production design and cinematography do a very good job of immersing you in that part of the world. There were also quite a few individually strong sequences, like a boxing scene.
Overall, Changeland was a surprising directorial debut from Seth Green. If you are a fan of his, this is one you surely won’t want to miss, asit proves that he has not lost his touch as one of the most unique voices in comedy.
Changeland hits theaters and VOD on June 7.