ATX Festivals Reviews TV & Film

Austin Film Festival 2016: “5 Doctors” Review

Sometimes film festivals can be a little too artsy fartsy and take themselves too seriously. Luckily the programming at Austin Film Festival has selected great films, including the bromantic comedy, “5 Doctors.” It’s not really a bromance comedy, but it’s more about finding yourself by revisiting your past. The two main characters in the film are bromancing, even if they don’t know it.

Jay (Matt Porter) and Spencer (Max Azulay)
Jay (Matt Porter) and Spencer (Max Azulay)

Convinced that he’s dying from a bizarre array of symptoms, struggling comedian Spencer Kaminsky (Max Azulay) returns home to visit his five childhood doctors in a single day, all while desperately trying to avoid the friends and family that he left behind.

First off, the production of this film is amazing. The music, the locations, and direction all adds to the film’s authenticity and makes you feel like you’re going on Spencer’s journey back home through his perspective.

The story is simple yet complex because we can all relate to Spencer’s loss of oneself and making an excuse to come home to see these five childhood doctors to prove to himself that he’s dying. In reality, he’s just suffering a failed dream crisis that we all face when what we thought we were going to do was going to play out just liked we imagined. Then the reality versus expectations punches you in the gut and you’re left gasping for air.

Spencer is the all-too-familiar story of a theater-loving kid going off to Hollywood and only landing some small gigs and questions why he’s out there doing what he’s doing. However, Spencer is a little more manic than most of us and his borderline OCD adds to his serious quirkiness (if that’s even possible to be put together). The details to of his character and schedule driven timeline to visit these five doctors is great, including needing to be at his next appointment at 4:02 p.m.

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Along with his childhood friend Jay whom he coerces into giving him a ride around town, makes for a great funny and heartfelt film. Jay (Matt Porter) is my favorite part of this film. His character is the small-town guy who stayed and is working in the local school. Jay is more than willing to help Spencer even though, if the roles were reversed, this would not be the case vice versa. Also, Azulay and Porter immerse themselves in their roles and play their characters with such natural and comfortable ease, and their chemistry on-screen is a great thing to experience as an audience member because it is not forced.

Porter’s lovable character is the go-to naive friend that we often see; however, the writing of the story goes against some of the usual stereotypes we’d usually see when there’s a unlikeable and loveable character in a film. I love that it doesn’t always have to be one or the other and both of these characters go on a journey in this film together. One is not there to support the other, but in essence support each other and that makes the story grounded in reality.

I’m not a fan of over-the-top comedy, which is great because the comedic moments in the film are based in reality and the interactions between these two very different characters that make for a great combo.

Watch out for my favorite part of the film in which I don’t find very funny but it’s a moment that changes the course of Spencer and Jay’s friendship and it is played out with a piano medley of ribosomes. (You’ll know what I mean when you see the film.)

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If you’re looking for a great fun but also heartfelt film that will make you reminisce and make you wonder if your life has turned out the way you want it to you and what we need to do in order to get back on track, you should watch this film. Even if you have all your shit together, I still recommend watching this film, because you can tell the care and time that went into making this film and the friendship of the filmmakers, really shines through and is a great thing to see at a festival! Also, it’s hilarious and will make you laugh and smile.

You can still catch “5 Doctors” on Tuesday Oct 18 at 9:45 p.m. – 11:37 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse Village presented by Sprint.

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2 comments

  1. I loved this movie! so beautifully acted and written! unusual and moving. kudos to max azulay, matt porter and zoe azulay for unforgettable performances.

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