in Movies

‘Coffee Town’ Review: Good For Light, Frothy Viewing

I have a shameful admission to make.

You know those lowlife moochers who squat in coffee shops for hours nursing a flimsy paper cup and hogging the Wifi and comfiest chairs? The ones who (un)ironically call Starbucks their offices, who lug giant laptops everywhere they go with chargers in hand, always searching for a plug? I’m one of them. So is Will (Glenn Howerton), the protagonist of Coffee Town.

See, Will happens to be a tech website manager, which means he can work from anywhere so long as he has his laptop and a steady Wifi connection. He chooses his local coffee house, the eponymous Coffee Town, as his workspace, because A) he gets internet all day long for the price of a cup of coffee, B) it’s a convenient meeting place for him and his slacker buddies Chad (Steve Little) and Gino (Ben Schwartz), and C) he gets to stare creepily at the “girl of his dreams,” who Will has basically never talked to, and thus his infatuation has more to do with her bodacious bod and sweaty gym clothes rather than, like, her personality.

He’s also prone to overly dramatic narration and imagining weird cartoon drawings whilst monologuing.

For unapologetic men-children with major issues – Chad picks up smoking just so he can get an extra 15 minute break every day at work (and also he might be racist), while Gino is a police officer who doesn’t quite understand that the purpose of his uniform isn’t so he can pick up chicks and get away with gleefully breaking traffic laws – they’re oddly endearing together. Will might come off as the straight man of the group, but he’s every bit as ridiculous as his friends, at one point breaking a toilet in half trying to do a push-up.

Adrianne Palicki plays Becca, the sole woman of note in the film and thus the obligatory love interest. Considering the few scenes and lines she got, Becca is adorable and fantastic, but I was uncomfortable with how long she existed just as an object of ogling for the men in the coffee shop. At least she didn’t come off as some trophy that Will won at the end – instead, they end up going on one date, where they actually have things to say to one another (it’s kinda sad that I was surprised by this, but usually in these sorts of things once the guy “gets the girl,” they just make out and there’s little to no actual glimpses into their resulting relationship.) Here, Becca and Will do seem to connect, however minorly, and their final scenes together come off as friendship-with-possiblity-for-more rather than True Love.

The main conflict of Coffee Town arrives when the shop’s corporate owners begin to expand and convert Coffee Town into a bistro/lounge, and Will suddenly becomes in danger of losing his “office”. Along with his friends, Will concocts a plan to save Coffee Town… by robbing the place. Because that will apparently show the owners how unsafe the location is. And thus we have the perfect set-up for a heist film – except that it takes half an hour before they even reach the point of planning the robbery, the actual heist bit lasts about ten minutes, and the point of the movie really isn’t about the heist at all, but Will’s personal philosophy being thrown into turmoil.

A lot of the jokes are hit and miss (and more than a few are borderline offensive) but for the most part, this is a pretty chill, laugh-out-loud movie. The highlight of the film was most definitely Josh Groban’s grumpy barista/aspiring rockstar, who is hellbent on getting moochers out of “his” coffee shop. Mostly by being hilariously annoying and drawing dicks on Will’s paper cups.

Coffee Town doesn’t quite stick the landing, though – the wackiness of the first two acts suddenly morphs into a somber, supposedly thoughtful life lesson by the end – but maybe that’s the point. You can be as childish and disconnected from the world as you like, but eventually you’re going to come crashing down to earth.

three and a half stars

You can watch Coffee Town (which happens to be comedy website CollegeHumor’s first feature film) now on HBO Go.