Review by James Lindorf
Frank is on the cusp of a career breakthrough with a big promotion all but guaranteed. His relationship with his wife Cheryl, on the other hand, isn’t going quite so well. When his co-worker and best friend Jeff offers to take Frank out on the town for an adventure to celebrate his big news, he reluctantly agrees. Their typical night out takes a dramatic turn for the worse when Frank is dosed with The Wave, a powerful hallucinogen that alters his perception and the course of his life. Waking up with little idea of where he is or where he has been, Frank is thrown into a quest to find his wallet, a missing girl, and himself while ping-ponging across reality. “The Wave” was Directed by Gille Klabin, written by Carl W. Lucas, and Epic Pictures will bring the Justin Long and Donald Faison staring film to theaters and VOD on January 17th.
“The Wave” is an unusual mix of a movie, a sci-fi influenced stoner comedy that is a take on the classic “A Christmas Carol.” Frank is about to get everything he wants professionally, and all it will take is punishing a firefighter’s widow and her three children with a loophole in an insurance policy. The film’s greatest strength is the commitment of the cast from top to bottom. No matter how psychedelic or over the top they were asked to be, they went there. Which isn’t anything new for Long if you’ve seen him in films like “Idiocracy” or “Tusk” you know how far he is willing to go.
The ride on this wave starts a bit rough, with Frank being instantly dull and unlikeable. However, when Frank wakes up confused, his phone dead, and unable to find his wallet, the movie finally starts to find its feet. Even though he is wide awake and seemingly clean, the drugs are still coursing through his system, affecting him at the worst moments. The effects of the drug are uneven and used for shock value, comedy, and a little bit of heart as the film progresses. Thankfully Frank’s visions are the most intense early in the movie and tone down as the sci-fi elements tick up. If the hallucinations maintained the same character throughout, I am not sure I could have made it to the end credits.
“The Wave” overcomes its rough start to become something more enjoyable with a surprising amount of depth. With a better constructed first act, there is a chance it could have been a sleeper hit, but thanks to strong performances and an intriguing premise, “The Wave” will make a splash in the world of cult favorites.