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Sacramento Review: Introspective Buddy Comedy

Michael Angarano breathes life back into the buddy comedy genre with his clever and introspective new film Sacramento.  

Director: Michael Angarano
Genre: Drama
Run Time: 84′
Tribeca Premiere: June 8-12, 2024
Release Date: TBA

As we grow up, we tend to shift away from the aspects of our identity we used to cling so firmly to. We narrow down our wide range of interests and push ourselves down more narrow paths of life in favor of newfound passions or aspirations.

With this growth, we have a lot we need to leave behind: the things that no longer suit our lifestyle, and, at times, the friends who refuse to grow with us. Unfortunately, sometimes the friends you wish to let go refuse to allow you to release them, as explored in the hilarious and heartfelt new film Sacramento

The new comedy from writers Michael Angarano (who also directs and stars in the film) and Chris Smith centers on two old friends who have grown in completely different directions. Glenn (Micheal Cera, of Barbie) is a soon-to-be dad who is desperately trying to hide how terrified he is of fatherhood from his pregnant partner Rosie (Kristen Stewart, of Love Lies Bleeding). In the midst of his terror, he learns his job is in jeopardy, to which Rosie attempts to assure him she can be the primary breadwinner if this scenario becomes their reality. However, this only intensifies Glenn’s worries, as he doesn’t know if he has what it takes to be a good dad.  

While Glenn thinks things couldn’t get any worse, his childhood best friend Rickey (Angarano), whom he has been trying furiously to faze out, re-enters his life trying to mend their friendship that has been dissipating. The two get lunch in Los Angeles and, when driving Glenn home, Rickey jokes they should take a road trip to Sacramento after passing a sign for it, to which Glenn sarcastically agrees. However, when Glenn does this, Rickey sees it as an opportunity to force the two into spending time together and reconnecting. To get Glenn to actually agree, he tells him he needs to spread his father’s ashes in Sacramento and doesn’t want to do it alone. Glenn, feeling like there’s no other option but to say yes, agrees and what ensues is absolute comedy gold.

The relationship between Rickey and Glenn is an incredibly interesting study of male friendships. While Glenn wants nothing to do with Rickey in this next stage of his life, Rosie reminds him Rickey is his best friend. The two have known each other since childhood but Rickey has a way of making Glenn regress and give in to his most immature character traits. 

A group of friends hugh each other while walking and smiling in the 2024 film Sacramento
Sacramento ( / 2024 Tribeca Film Festival)

Sacramento is easily able to capture the awkward, competitive nature that lies within male friendships. Whether it be through Rickey lying to Glenn about how much money he spent on his car or the two men engaging in a push-up competition to see who can do more (I find it important to note here both of these men are well into their 30s), there is always a point to prove and a desire to be seen as the “bigger man”. Smith and Angarano perfectly write this weird need men have to outdo one another adding to the underlying tension within the main character’s friendship. 

Smith and Angarano also do a brilliant job at creating characters that feel like the modern man in a way that is realistic rather than corny. A lot of times, when writers try to embed words like “gaslighting” or “mansplaining,” it lands awkwardly, like they are trying to pander to modern audiences rather than relate to them. Glenn and Rickey are characters that audiences can picture living in the real world. They are socially aware, socially awkward and truly believe they have evolved beyond the traditional traits of toxic masculinity. However, they are not beyond them; they are just the modernized versions of them.  

Additionally, Sacramento is an incredibly introspective look at the way men are forced to grow up to become fathers. While Rickey has just lost his father, Glenn is on the cusp of becoming one. These men are at this crossroad where they have to step into the role of the main patriarchal figure in their own lives, both for themselves and for the people who rely on them. However, they are both completely unprepared. Rickey is still reeling and unable to deal with the loss of his father in a mature way, whereas Glenn is trying to trick himself into thinking he is ready and completely losing his mind in the process. 

While ferociously funny, Sacramento uses its humor to shed light on the difficult questions its lead characters are struggling to answer. It’s a film exploring male friendships and how men communicate with one another. It illustrates the difficulties of needing to have hard conversations when locked into gender conventions that don’t always encourage vulnerability. 

The most impressive part of this film, however, is that every single joke in it lands. It’s the type of comedy that makes you genuinely laugh out loud. Whether it be because of the writing, the blocking of the characters or the framing of the shots, everything is done with the intention of making you giggle. The whole cast is able to showcase their comedic timing, most notably Kristen Stewart, who proves through this role there isn’t a genre she can’t effortlessly step into. Micheal Cera and Michael Angarano were simply born to play Glenn and Rickey. I have yet to see a role Maya Erskine has not stolen the show with, and her performance of Rickey’s love interest Tallieis no different. 

Sacramento is one of the funniest films of the year. With pitch-perfect performances and a script that is immeasurably funny, Michael Angarano is responsible for one of Tribeca Film Festival’s best movies. It’s a story about fatherhood and friendship and the ways we try to force ourselves to believe that we are grown-ups. It is the best road trip buddy comedy of the last few years and will surely make audiences reflect just as much as it will make them laugh

Sacramento premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 8-12, 2024. The film was acquired for distribution by Vertical Entertainment. Read our list of 15 films to watch at the 2024 Tribeca Film Festival!

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