★★★★ – “A wonderful, intimate drama.”
Who’s Driving Doug is directed by David Michael Conley and stars RJ Mitte with Paloma Kwiatkowski and Ray William Johnson.
Doug is a sheltered, intelligent college student who changes his life forever when he hires an underachieving driver, Scott, and heads out on a spontaneous road trip with him to Las Vegas.
The drama genre as of late has become very predictable and at times sloppy and weak, with the exceptions of this year’s Spotlight and The Big Short. Who’s Driving Doug feels very intimate and low budget, with newcomer Ray William Johnson making a wonderful debut into the acting world, sharing some lovely moments of chemistry with Doug, who is perfectly portrayed by RJ Mitte.
Shooting on location in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, with the amazing performances by all the cast and having a beautifully written screenplay really helps pull the entire concept together. It’s very much a buddy comedy with some serious topics and great music throughout.
I have one slight issue; in the final act, there’s a somewhat predictable twist that I absolutely wish was handled with a lot more care. It just felt jarring when they cut straight from this moment into a shot that doesn’t quite correlate with the previous scene. If this was lingered on a little more, I feel it would have been amazing. That said, it’s a feel-good comedy/drama that turns in many directions with some really great scenes of dialogue and morals.
Music by Chad Rehmann is an acoustic tour de force with a simplistic approach that ties the whole picture together fluently. It’s very guitar and piano based, with melodies that weave in and out of scenes with a subtle drone to tie up the ends of each piece. Alongside the score by Rehmann is the soundtrack by Death Cab for Cutie who have gracefully allowed their music to be featured throughout the running length of the movie, fitting perfectly with the forever changing mood of the story.
My verdict; Who’s Driving Doug is a wonderful take on the drama genre and succeeds in everything it sets out to achieve. (Now available to stream on Netflix)
Who’s Driving Doug – ★★★★ (7/10)