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Review: Actors play actors and seem like it as a theater group reunion goes awry in ‘The Drama Club’

‘The Drama Club’
Dane Bowman in the movie “The Drama Club.”
(Grzegorz Gill / Ginger Beard Films / Lakeview Pictures)

Like “The Big Chill” and “Peter’s Friends” but without a single character you’d want to spend five minutes with, let alone a weekend, “The Drama Club” makes for a crassly unpleasant ensemble piece.

Reuniting for the first time in 20 years, a group of former high school drama club members, plus their significant others, get together to relive old times, slowly realizing why they’ve been in no hurry to catch up in the interim.

Aaron (Dane Bowman) hosts his old pals, now in their late 30s with clear arrested development issues, at the community playhouse he took over from their late theater teacher. What was intended to be a lark quickly collapses into a mess of drug- and alcohol-fueled bad behavior.

We know from past screen experiences that these weekend-in-the-country pieces usually turn out to be anything but idyllic, but in ensuring there’s no shortage of drama, writer-director Joe McClean hasn’t created a single relatable character worth our time.

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Instead, he serves up one-dimensional archetypes — the ungodly school slut, the virginal good Christian, the smugly racist Republican banker — played by actors who all look and sound like actors.

Occupying time in between their illicit couplings by griping endlessly about social media and millennials while blaming the system for their not having any African Americans in their social circle, they make Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups” seem downright urbane by comparison.

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‘The Drama Club’

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Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood

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