I will start this out by confessing that I am a huge Donald Glover fan. I think his sense of comedic timing is genius, and if you listen to his stuff as Childish Gambino, it is easy to see just how smart he is, and how fast he thinks. With this past week being his last week as Troy on Community, I thought it might be a good time to recommend a film he made with his friends that is not only absurd, but a great deal of fun in the process. Oh, and it has Aubrey Plaza in it. If you guys are anything like me, that is a double selling point. It may be juvenile at times, but that is half the fun of this movie. This episode of Scooby Doo on crack. This movie full of man-children. This is Mystery Team.
This is not a picture of Troy. This is a picture of Childish Gambino.
Written by the Derrick Comedy Group (who are basically the three leads in this movie) Mystery Team asks, what would happen if three emotionally stunted teens tried to help solve a crime, Scooby Doo style? It is a premise ripe for the picking, and that is just what they do here. The Mystery Team is made up of Donald Glover as Jason. The Troy of the group. The goofy but lovable leader. D.C Pierson plays Duncan. He could best be described as Napoleon Dynamite with just a bit more personality. Last, we have Dominic Dierkis, who plays Charlie. He may be retarded, but we are never quite sure. But man, can he punch stuff. These three have a group they call Mystery Team, and they go around solving local crimes. Well, mostly finding cats in trees and lame shit like that. A good example being one of their mysteries we are introduced to early in the film is that someone was cooling a pie on a window sill (like in cartoons) and they needed to find out what bastard poked a hole in it for a free taste. Yup. Ground level stuff like that.
A young girl approaches them and asks them to find out why her parents were murdered. They can’t seem to say no to this prospect, and are clearly in way over the heads, right from the start of things. Imagine if Veronica Mars was an emotionally stunted young man and you have a pretty good idea. I also want to point out current SNL funnyman Bobby Moynihan is in this film. I know that seems stupid to point out, but he is clearly the funniest new cast member on SNL, and you can the roots of that here with his small but scene-stealing character who wants nothing more than to be a part of the mystery team.
Note Bobby Moynihan in the back, stealing the show, per usual.
Now I will lay out a quick disclaimer. If you can not suspend disbelief, you will not have fun with this film. I have heard some people say they could not get into it because of how stupid the characters were. That is like saying you didn’t like a horror movie because it had too much blood. The whole angle of this film is that these men are clearly stuck in the mindset of when they were kids. If seeing a grown man act like a stupid child will anger you, see something else. That, my friends, is the entire point of the movie. But if you really think about Troy on Community, that is his whole steez. He is the stupid but incredibly lovable man-child. It is clear he has a good heart, but his small brain sometimes gets in the way of that. It’s great to watch Mystery Squad as a fan of Community because you can CLEARLY see the roots Glover was planting for the Troy character.
Okay, trailer time;
As you can see from the trailer, things get out of hand pretty quickly. Which is often the case when looking into a double murder. The main series of gags in this film come from the fact that these three are clearly not smart enough to be doing this, and the danger that comes along with it is something they are wildly unprepared for. It basically means the movie runs from hilarious and awkward scenario to hilarious and awkward scenario, barely giving the viewer enough time to keep up. It is asinine, yes. But much like a movie like Hot Rod, it relishes in its own awkward. It knows that is where the funny comes from.
I think for me the best part about this movie is very much pretending that this is Troy from Community RIGHT BEFORE he went to Greendale. I know that sounds dumb, but hear me out. The whole movie is about how these thee kids need to grow up and head of to college, but are fighting that in any way they can. In this case, holding on to something they all shared from their youth. If you match that up with Troy on Community, it makes sense. Oh, you just need to erase all that “I was a high school football star” stuff. Pretend he made all that up so he didn’t have to explain to the gang on Community what he was doing before they met. Okay, I know Annie knew him in high school. My idea here has some holes, but role with it. It will make your enjoy Mystery Team that much more.
Yes, expect a lot of poor disguises in Mystery Team. That is half their charm.
I also feel the need to point out that you could also feel Aubrey Plaza laying down her test run for her Daria alter-ego she has gone on to use in every role. I personally adore her, but you can tell in this film she still has trouble stifling that smile. This really is a test run, and you can feel that. But that is where I derived the most joy out of Mystery Team from. They were mostly a cast I already liked, and they were playing BETA versions of who they would go on to become. That is kind of a cool thing to witness.
There she is, barely able to stifle a grin. The lovely Aubrey Plaza.
On top of that, the movie is really hilarious, in the most absurd way possible. Give it a shot. I think it will surprise you. Get one more Troy fix before he goes to sail the seven seas with LaVar Burton. Bon Troyage, buddy. You will be missed.