Vanessa Lengies

Grindhouse-style 'Happy Birthday' talks its sadistic head off

Grindhouse-style 'Happy Birthday' talks its sadistic head off

There’s a fine line between mocking obnoxious bro behavior and celebrating it, and writer-director Casey Tebo’s “Happy Birthday” too often falls on the wrong side of the divide. Though well-acted and stylish, this meta-grindhouse exercise strains under its own self-satisfied cleverness.

Matt Bush stars as Brady Baxter, a nebbishy Hollywood assistant who takes an impromptu birthday trip to Mexico with his rich buddy Tommy (Riley Litman). Their planned epic debauchery gets scuttled when they meet two women (Britne Oldford and Vanessa Lengies) who kidnap and torture them, claiming to be working for a drug lord.

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