Netflix Now: The Package (2018) Reviewed

“A group of friends finds their camping trip cut short by a gruesome accident.”

This sounds more like the logline of an endless stream of ‘80s slasher flicks, but it also accurately describes the plot of the new Netflix original comedy The Package. Yes, that said comedy, though to call the events of the film “horror” would not be terribly far off the mark. And while this review will not reveal any specifics of the afore-mentioned accident, one might find a sizable hint in the film’s title, which should give you an idea of what sort of humor you can expect from the film. Let’s just say you shouldn’t watch this one with the kids.

Produced by the guys behind the hit Comedy Central series Workaholics and Ben Stiller(!), among others, and directed by Jake Szymanski (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates), The Package features a likable, funny quintet of young actors with fantastic chemistry. Most are relatively unknown, though fans of R-rated comedy will likely recognize Geraldine Viswanathan from her breakout role in this year’s fantastic Blockers. She’s just as charming here, even though she doesn’t have nearly as much to do. As is typically the case, the guys (leads Daniel Doheny and Luke Spencer Roberts, and our unfortunate victim Eduardo Franco) get to have most of the fun. With a group that plays so well off of each other, it would have been nice to see a little more equity with the jokes.

That's not a knife. THIS is a knife. Well.....not really. 

Ahh yes, the jokes. How you feel about The Package is going to depend 100% on how you feel about juvenile humor. Specifically, dick jokes. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of dick jokes. An endless stream of—you get the idea. Comedies like this tend to have a bit of a problem knowing when to quit, and The Package is no exception. “More” does not necessarily equal “better”, and while perhaps restraint may not be the most beneficial solution in this particular case, knowing when to dial it back a bit certainly couldn’t have hurt the film. But the funny moments in The Package do hit, and they hit hard. When you’re not covering your eyes or cringing in terror, or disgust, or both, there’s still a lot of fun to be had.

The Package is bold, brash, and confident in itself, as a film like it should be, effortlessly blowing past R-rated comedy and landing comfortably in NC-17 territory. It’s hard not to actually admire its willingness to go There, or past There, regardless of whether or not it needed to to make an impact. In most cases with The Package, it probably doesn’t. What it does has been done much better, plenty of times, for decades. Still, The Package is good for more than a few cheap, wicked laughs, in between the numerous cringeworthy moments. If you’re looking for lowbrow humor that cuts deep, and a 90-minute barrage of dick jokes is your idea of a great time, then you’ll have a ball (or two) with The Package.

-Mike Stec