If you said that there are too many pandemic comedies existing now, I would have to agree with you. However, there are some that do work and succeed at what they’re trying to do, and Wes Schlagenhauf is Dying is one of them. Written by filmmakers Devin Das and Parker Seaman (who also directed), the 77-minute relatable and snarky tale of the frustrating aspects of DIY filmmaking and the longtime friendship that can be affected by it was honestly another Tribeca highlight for me.
Das and Seaman play fictionalized versions of themselves, as they attempt to make an award-winning documentary about their mutual best friend Wes (Wes Schlagenhauf, also playing a version of himself), whom they believe is dying from COVID. They use his “story” to try and make it big in Hollywood. As they make their journey across the road to see Wes one last time, their missteps, personal ambitions, and conflicting personalities threaten to get the better of them, ruin their movie, and destroy their friendship in the process.
I really enjoyed this film. It’s small, simple, but actually honest. It gets totally right about the limited and almost degrading process of just trying to make movies and also keeping your sanity while doing so. It also depicts the bonds and make-or-break boundaries between them. These three guys are best friends, but they realistically do things to piss each other off. They are annoying, but in the best way, because many people do have friends like these, friends who can be judgmental, selfish, rude, sarcastic, but in the end, they are the ones who will always have your back, in good times and bad.
It’s not a perfect film. There are times where the pandemic stuff is a little too obvious, and some of the humor doesn’t always land, but it was not enough to steer me away from it. I still think it’s a good filmmaking comedy that deserves to be seen as least once, where Das, Seaman, and Schlagenhauf at the center of it have enough humanity and wit to make it a solid watch.