A carefree day off turns into the beach day from hell in the sun-blasted, acid-tongued send-up of millennial culture "Fort Tilden," written and directed by Sarah Violet-Bliss and Charles Rogers.
Roommates Harper (Bridey Elliott), dim and mean, and Allie (Clare McNulty), dim and whiny, set off for the beach at Fort Tilden in the Rockaways of New York's Long Island, hoping to meet up with a couple of cute boys. As Harper and Allie's journey becomes increasingly arduous — they're broke, their bikes are stolen and they're stranded without reliable cab service — their snarkiness reveals itself to be bitter and abusive, a stark contrast to their cutesy romper outfits.
Harper is a nightmare of a person, a sociopath with whom you'd never want to spend time (credit to Elliott for her fully committed performance). The long-suffering Allie endures Harper's whims while also attempting to juggle the Peace Corps officer who keeps calling to get her paperwork.
The girls talk a lot about karma, and their karma catches up with them. After all their whining and sense of entitlement, their comeuppance is earned. That's the thing that ultimately humanizes the two — and salvages the film. "Fort Tilden" is cringe-worthy but true. Maybe that's why it's so uncomfortable to watch.
Despite Harper and Allie's hellish struggles, the film has an easy, funky groove and captures the sweaty perfection of a New York City summer, where things always look better on Instagram.
MPAA rating: R, for language, sexual content, graphic nudity and brief drug use
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes