“Honey Buddies” is an obviously unique and amazing movie. It’s a comedy but it’s shamanic and transformative at the same time. It’s probably a new genre of movie. It’s a coyote comedy, in the sense that the puzzle presented by the movie is intended not just to please you with giggles (which it does) but to transform you with possibility, rather like the Canterbury Tales or Don Quixote.
It all takes place in Oregon, which is such a gift of the film, as Oregon has always been such a platform and stage of transformation beyond the boundaries — and of challenge of the given reality. Portland, Silver Falls, Mt. Hood — all are recognizable as these two friends, David and Flula, a random German Sancho Panza, pick up the pieces after David gets dumped at the altar by his beloved Frankie.
David has arranged this seven-day hiking honeymoon, so Flula, rejecting all grief of his friend, insists on doing the hike with him — two guys! Here, we could depart into the usual college drinking and sexcapades we find in Hollywood flicks, but it soars miles beyond that.
They are following near the trail of Lewis and Clark, the first white men here some 215 years before, and we hear the voice of their journal speaking of the strange, uplifting new land and possibilities, so like those offered in mythical journeys, where your normal life must be let go of, if you are to find who you must become.
This movie is such a surprise, a party of the spirit, an unpredictable destiny. Normally, the jilted groom would wallow for months, get therapy and get back on the single circuit, right? Not here. We see flashes of the lost bride Frankie and she is quite cute and our hero should well be expected to engage his grief, but Sancho Panza will permit none of this, leading our hero off into the misty green tunnels of Oregon trails, popping their gorp, but needing to make many more miles a day, striding forward, but to where? Forward. That is all.
David has his cell coverage and keeps checking it — oh, this binding and crippling connection to the context of crushing civilization, so we see Flula accidentally dropping it down a cliff, with grievous apologies and that’s about when we realize this is an important death-rebirth experience and an important new kind of movie, a "Gone With the Wind" for the Millennial Generation, where rebirth is nice but death must come first.
But not the grisly death of Homer and Gilgamesh, the Crusades and all that. That is gone. It’s the demise of the importance of the ego — the letting go into the forests of Oregon. We don’t even see the self-importance of “Free,” hiking the long grisly Pacific Crest Trail.
The beautiful thing is that these guys are so beautiful to each other, especially Flula as he gently tears down the layers of grief and this endless striving to get the right partner and career and lifestyle on track. David really doesn’t know where he picked up this joker, this coyote being whom he met one night getting hammered with shots of schnapps, but in he came, an aide to his soul that would unfold in the Cascadian woods.
You just know we’re going to see this Frankie woman again and we do. She begins uttering her reasons and needs and viewpoints but she recognizes she is no longer talking to this same man who was to meet her at the altar. He is a giant now, fearless, patient, tall, without tears, welcoming the vastness of Oregon, which reflects that of his soul.
It’s amazing this can be a comedy, yet be packed so full of the collected wisdom of the generations. They even work in a shroom trip out there with the newly reborn wolves of Oregon. What do they learn from it? We have no idea. But these elements of nature are here to show us the path — and it’s all for nothing if we aren’t laughing on our way.
P.S.: Having just read this review in Variety calling it a “pretty flimsy indy buddy comedy,” oh gee, one just knows that everyone in Cascadia will “get it” in depth and we gladly pity those who don’t — and don’t get to live here.
Note, April 7: Shortly after this article appeared, "Honey Buddy" filmmakers announced they reached a deal to release the film as "Buddymoon" on digital video-on-demand and in theaters starting July 1. The new website for the film is at www.buddymoonthemovie.com.
John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.