Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Blu Ray Review: Eastbound & Down: The Complete Third Season

Danny McBride’s crudely deluded Kenny Powers character keeps on losing while still thinking he’s a winner in the third season of Eastbound & Down out today on DVD and Blu ray.

McBride’s raunchy redneck shtick, which can be very funny but is often embarrassingly painful, is better served up by HBO in these half hour episodes than in misguided movies like YOUR HIGHNESS. Here, the mulleted has-been baseball star’s hard-partying behavior is neatly contained in easy to digest scenarios which don’t wear out their welcome, that is, unless you watch all eight of them in a marathon.

After the second season’s seedy adventures in Mexico, Kenny returns to the states and joins the Myrtle Beach Mermen baseball team. 

We catch up with our profane pervert of a protagonist on the beach with a boogie board that sports an image of the Confederate flag with a marijuana leaf in the middle. 

From there we go to the ballpark to meet the team’s relief pitcher, Shane Gerald, played by SNL’s Jason Sudekis, who McBride calls his best friend, to the irritation of his assistant Stevie (Stevie Janowski). At his son’s first birthday party, we learn from the returning Katy Nixon as April that Kenny hasn’t paid child support, and that she may regret having the baby.

That sets up the season’s arc - Kenny having to take care of his baby Toby after April takes off (Kenny left her at the end of the first season so it makes some sort of twisted sense). Kenny, of course, doesn’t take being a father seriously - he tells his college aged girlfriend (Alex ter Avest) “you think I wanna fuckin’ hang out with my fuckin’ son? Hell no, I’d much rather being doing cocaine and watching the SAW movies on DVD in your dorm room with you.” 

Will Farrell reprises the role of cocky corrupt car dealer Ashley Schaeffer from the first season in a few segments this season, the best of which might be in the second episode “Chapter 15,” but the most successful storyline that goes through the third and fourth episodes concerns Shane dying from a drug overdose (he was snorting coke to the Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian,”) and Kenny trying to connect with his identical twin brother Cole (also played by Sudekis).

Although I like Janowski, who hasn’t been on anything else besides Eastbound, I wasn’t into how the show constantly humiliates his character, and his cheating on his wife (Elizabeth De Razzo) scenario didn’t go anywhere interesting.

The beautifully skuzzy Don Johnson returns as Kenny’s father, but the real news is that Lily Tomlin appears as his bowling champion mother. Matthew McConaughey, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, and in a deleted scene, Val Kilmer, make cameos, but sadly there’s very little John Hawkes as Kenny’s brother, but obviously that’s because he’s got a busy movie career happening.

For better or worse, season three is pretty much the same quality as the first two seasons, so if you weren’t a fan before you won’t be won over, but folks who “get” McBride, and director/co-writer Jody Hill’s brand of bawdy, lowbrow humor will be highly satisfied with this 2 disc set.

Special Features: Extended scene of “Dinner at Schaeffer’s” (more fun with Will Ferrell from “Chapter 14”), commentaries on every episode (some of which are funnier than the episodes themselves), 48 minutes of deleted scenes including a way too long segment of Stevie cutting off his hair and shaving his head and eyebrows, and over 8 minutes of outtakes, which have their fair share of laughs.

More later...

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