“Back in the Day”

Bobby Shipman

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Newburgh, Ind. native Michael Rosenbaum’s directorial debut “Back in the Day” emulated his hometown’s image with strikingly generic cinematography, mild humor and lack of depth.

The film stars Jim Owens, a Hollywood wannabe who travels back to his hometown of Newburgh, Ind. (how original) to attend his high school reunion.

Although Rosenbaum’s attempt will not earn him a seat at the Oscars, it did showcase a few talented comedians who gave the film a quirky charm.

Nick Swardson’s portrayal of a backwoods Indiana redneck stole the stage with his boozy antics, although his character quickly dissipates from the screen, which left me slightly confused after seeing him marketed as a main character.

Popping out of the nerd vault, Emma Caulfield (or Anya Jenkins for all you Buffy die-hards,) plays the nagging antagonist pleasantly.

The dynamic duo who truly won me over in the end and, in my opinion, produced the most chuckles, was the disturbed couple of Skunk (Harland Williams) and Carol (Sarah Calonna).

At first I was disappointed with Williams’s performance as Rosenbaum’s mentally disabled friend because the shticks just were not packing a riotous punch.

Looking back to when Rosenbaum and Williams played cross-dressing fraternity brothers in “Sorority Boys” I thought, “Maybe their prime time really was back in the day.”

After its slow start, the movie kicks it up a notch and Williams leaves you laughing the way comedy is supposed to, while Sarah Calonna whips her tickling role as modest domenatrix and doesn’t falter.

Although the storyline plays out as “been there (literally) and seen that! (also literally),” Rosenbaum does find a way to put his own clever spin on his romantic-ish comedy.

As a born and raised Evansville local, and frequent Newburgh commuter, it was strange to see buildings I’ve grown up around featured on the silver-screen.

Probably the most hysterical part was seeing Washington Square Mall portayed as a poppin’ joint where people actually want to shop.

With a better story and more experience, I am surprised to say I see a future for Rosenbaum as a successful director.

Hey, I mean if Ben Affleck can do it…

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