I’ve said it before, but making weird stuff is easy.
Making weird stuff good is genius.
Directed by Daniel O’Hare, Brendan O’Hare, and Cory Snearowski and executive-produced by Abso Lutely’s pioneering co-founder Tim Heidecker and alt-comedy kingmaker Dave Kneebone, Branchburg is an absolute trip. I mean that literally.
What seems at first to be a newbie effort at backyard filmmaking quickly progresses into a carefully constructed series of vignettes set in the Everytown of Branchburg, New Jersey. The O’Hares and Snearowski take turns leading the charge in blackout after blackout, extreme wide after extreme wide. Blink and you’ll wonder why you’ve spent nine minutes of your life on this, but watch closely and every setup that first presents as random and weird for weird’s sake reels you back into the warm waters of comedic acuity.
From a hunter using a laundry basket to bag a family of elk to a charitable gent shoving old clothes into a storm drain while a Goodwill donation bin sits not 50 yards away (with a man who’s got his arm trapped inside after trying to retrieve a rented tuxedo he mistakenly tossed in) to a prisoner being held inside a neighborhood tennis cage instead of a jail cell, Branchburg is a marvel.
It’s the live-action version of the best New Yorker comic you’ve seen, combined with a deliciously vintage Simpsons episode — the kind of stakes-raising, purist comedy that makes you want to try harder.