There’s been something of a movement in the last decade or so that “30 is the new 20.” Call it the result of a generation being coddled into thinking they’ll never have to take responsibility. Or call it the result of a generation being ladened with crisis after crisis after crisis after crisis and thus retreating into a sort of perpetual childhood. Whatever you call it, the Drexton’s Sour Party absolutely embodies the spirit of eternal slackerhood and how 30 is the new whatever you want it to be.
Sour Party is the story of Gwen and James, two thirty something Los Angelenos stumbling through life from one get rich scheme to another. Gwen recently lost a job because of some sketchy shit her boss pulled and seems to be relying on her rich family to fund her listlessness, while James relies on her version of OnlyFans for income and bemoans the fact she hasn’t married Nicholas Cage yet. The film opens on just another day for the two of them trying to figure out how to make more money until Gwen’s sister reminds her of her upcoming baby shower that Gwen promised to attend, and thus the story drags itself out of bed and stumbles out into the sun washed streets of Los Angeles as the duo tries to scrape up enough cash to buy Gwen’s sister a baby shower present.
Now, young people on a misadventure isn’t exactly a groundbreaking premise, but what makes this film so refreshing and enjoyable is how mundane a lot of the encounters they have with people are. Most of the time it’s just weird characters from the peripherals of their lives: acquaintances, former drug dealers, ex coworkers, old flames. Sure, there’s enough comedy and action to keep the audience engaged, but it all feels like the perfect answer to the crazy adventures comedies of the ‘80s and ‘90s by just having the duo repeatedly almost annoyingly low key and laid-back side characters. Sure, there’s a few serious moments that are salt to the chocolate that the rest of the film is and really make it pop, but overall, it’s just a remarkably charming and goofy film that doesn’t take itself all too seriously.
Samantha Westervelt and Amanda Drexton are stellar as the central duo of this film. Their chemistry is palpable in every scene, crackling with a constantly shifting big sister little sister dynamic that is an absolute delight to watch unfold. There’s a genuine feeling that these characters care deeply for one another, and that the increasing annoyance they display at each other as the film goes on is borne from a place of love. It’s clear that James is jealous of Gwen being able to do what she wants because her family has money, but it’s also even clearer that she genuinely believes Gwen could succeed in life on her own if she tried. Likewise, it’s clear that Gwen is annoyed at James being a pushover, but also because she wants her friend to stop letting people taking advantage of her. There’s a very real frustration between them that comes from a place of caring for each other, and at the climax of the film it’s extremely endearing.
This movie isn’t without its critique of the very people it’s semi-glamorizing. It might be making us fall in love with these women, but it doesn’t shy away from the fact that their lifestyle and social circle is very cliched “LA”. There’s constant talk of people leaving for somewhere else and how LA is falling out of style, and the people they encounter all seem to embody the vapid hollowness that conservatives love to accuse millennials and coastal elites of dripping with. It’s clear that much of this film is tongue in cheek, and all the comedic aspects involving said vapidness are being committed with a wink and a nod at the audience. This film might be silly, but it’s also very self-aware.
Sour Party isn’t trying to say anything deep or profound. It’s not trying to change the world. Contrary to its title it’s nothing more than a sweet and fun film reveling in the simplicity of the last gasps of early adulthood and how even the most mundane of tasks can turn into an adventure that might just lead us to a bit of self-actualization.