Director: Chester Tam
Starring: Carlos Alazraqui, Fred Armisen and Exie Booker
Take the 10 is the first major directorial work of Chester Tam, but he’s far from new on the scene. Tam has worked on amazing projects in the past, being a staff writer on Blue Mountain State’s first season and appearing in much of the work from the Lonely Island, insofar as he’s often considered the fourth member of the group. Starring Josh Peck (of Drake and Josh) and Tony Revolori (Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel), with supporting roles played by a few familiar and talented faces in comedy, including Tam himself, Take the 10 is a dry and dark comedy that Tam presents in an interesting style.
Told in a series of Tarantino-esque manner of time and perspective jumps Take the 10 spends around the first hour of its 80 minute run weaving an increasingly tangled web about two supermarket workers (Peck and Revolori), and two days of their lives in the lead up to a gig Peck wants them both to go to and a move to Brazil Revolori is determined to make. The writing (also by Tam) is at its strongest when it’s just the two leads interacting as friends, talking about nothing, their conversations ground the film as it moves through interactions with drive-by shootings, ticket fraud and drug dealers. Various characters make use of Tam’s realistic but funny style of dialogue, turning the interaction towards social commentary but always in an offhanded kind of way that never even comes close to being preachy.
Making a brief appearance was Andy Samberg, who was a delight as ever, playing Peck’s brother who has the tickets to the gig that sets off the whole series of events. The ‘beloved idiot’ is well within Samberg’s wheelhouse at this point and while it’d be nice to see him doing something new, it is without a doubt always funny to watch him act like a huge child. Also appearing to advance the plot is Kevin Corrigan who plays the scummy manager of the supermarket and spends the entire time threatening Revolori, being creepy towards a female employee and getting himself pumped up in a hilarious way. The real stand out character is played by Tam himself, a macho gangster who’s working through some stuff but doesn’t like being put in a box; his short-fused aggression and internal conflict create fantastic comedic foil throughout the film for Revolori, Peck and Corrigan.
Styling the film as a dark and dry comedy was certainly a bold choice by Tam, and it paid off more often than not. This film’s proved without doubt that Tam can work well as a writer, actor, or director so I’m looking forward to whatever he involves himself in next.
Take the 10 is available now on Netflix