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With: Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Brenda Song, Clare Grant, Macaulay Culkin, Randy Orton
Written by: Seth Green
Directed by: Seth Green
MPAA Rating: R for language and brief drug use
Running Time: 87
Date: 06/07/2019

Changeland (2019)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Thai That Binds

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A feature writing and directing debut by Seth Green, this endearing comedy drama explores its relaxing, lush visuals while contemplating an inert, introverted, but surprisingly relatable character.

In Changeland, Brandon (Seth Green) is about to celebrate his wedding anniversary, but he suspects his wife is having an affair. He had planned on surprising her with a trip to Thailand. Instead, he decides to go by himself, inviting his old friend Dan (Breckin Meyer) to come along. Dan seems to have it all figured out, and encourages Brandon to take risks, think for himself. Brandon, however, seems stuck in his own head, overthinking everything, and not very happy.

Once in Thailand, a boat tour introduces the friends to tour guides Pen (Brenda Song) and Dory (Clare Grant). Later, a free-spirited goofball, Ian (Macaulay Culkin), takes them to a special kickboxing bar, where everything that Brandon has been struggling with comes to a head.

Many, many movies have been made about men who re-discover their humanity while on a trip, and thanks to outgoing friends, but Changeland feels uncommonly honest, perhaps even brave. Green rolls the dice on a character that is indecisive and morose, and begins the movie staring into the middle distance has he makes his way to the airport. But Green's performance and filmmaking make him feel three-dimensional.

At the same time, Meyer plays one of those characters that always seems to know what to say and do, and yet also seems totally human. (Over the course of the movie, he examines some of his own hurts.) Perhaps the secret is that Green never overreaches. Like the serene camerawork that drinks in the scenery, the screenplay likewise takes its time and lets feelings flow in natural-sounding dialogue.

Its other secret is the delightful supporting cast; in a weaker film, they would seem like plot gimmicks, but, again, they all quickly and comfortably establish themselves as flawed, likable humans. Changeland is that rarity in independent cinema, a movie that eschews "quirky" for honesty.

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