Review:  ‘Not Cool’ by YouTube star Shane Dawson is a waste of time

‘Not Cool Chair’
Lisa Schwartz and Shane Dawson at the premiere Of Starz Digital Media’s “Not Cool” at the Landmark Theater on Sept. 18, 2014, in Los Angeles.
(Valerie Macon / Getty Images)

YouTube juvenile-humor celebrity Shane Dawson’s “Not Cool” is one of two movies made from the same Dan Schoffer script about emotionally lost college students.

It’s a gimmick arranged by the producers of a Starz reality show called “The Chair,” which documented both directors as they put their spin on Schoffer’s screenplay. Anna Martemucci’s version, “Hollidaysburg,” comes out Friday.

But giving somebody $800,000 and 20 days to shoot a film doesn’t guarantee you’ll get something suitable for release in return.

A stab — no, a frantic machete swipe — at comedy that only date-rapists, racists and sociopaths could love, the persistently ugly “Not Cool” begins with rapid-fire gags about overweight, undersexed losers; coitus with vegetables; loose bowels, rivers of puke and slut-shaming. And the film finds a way to tumble downhill from there.


Ostensibly it’s about the unlikely pairing-up during Thanksgiving break of two returning freshmen: a cynical, acid-tongued girl (Cherami Leigh) glad to be rid of high school and the former prom king (Dawson) flummoxed by lack of direction.

What “Not Cool” really is, though, is an abyss, an insult to the craft of filmmaking, storytelling and entertainment in almost every way, which is maybe what Dawson’s 10 million YouTube subscribers want. (There must be some reason they find him appealing.)

When it’s not built around mean-spirited, revolting jokes about anybody who isn’t Dawson’s color, attractiveness level, size and gender — the genitalia-exposing, feces-eating homeless black man is simply jaw-dropping — it’s a dreary, all-screaming pity party about thoroughly unappealing individuals.

“Not Cool” is the Internet culture of artlessness, excess, empty popularity, whining and sex-fueled hatred writ large. But hey, at least they got a TV show out of it too.


Only good movies

Get the Indie Focus newsletter, Mark Olsen's weekly guide to the world of cinema.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.