Movies, they’re a form of entertainment for the masses, they don’t need to reinvent the wheel or reconfigure a system we all know and understand, they just need to do one thing at their very core and that is entertain or move audiences. In the case of Stuart Stone’s newest feature, alongside Adam Rodness co-writing the feature with him, Vandits sets out to do exactly that and it achieves that goal with a variety of outcomes as it’s a Bad Santa/Groundhog Day mashup. Strap yourself in for one jolly good heist.
The film focuses on Uncle Sheldon played by Tony Nappo, Veeny played by Francesco Antonio, Guy played by Jesse Camacho and Jesse played by Victoria Turko as they embark on their journey to rob a bingo hall. Exciting stuff, right? Well, this Bingo hall has two hundred and fifty thousand dollars sitting in its safe, and despite it being 1 a.m. there are still a few stragglers around. As they go through the motions setting up their inept robbery, they meet a plethora of characters consisting of Ramone played by Rob Wells, Ned played by Enrico Colantoni, and Santa aka Paul played by Adrian McLean. Now the audience gets to see this chaos unfold a handful of times as we get to see each character see how their plan would play out, theoretically in their head until we reach the conclusion, usually mixed with a variety of deaths and setbacks each attempt gets more ridiculous and more absurd than the last.
What makes Vandits work, is the script from Adam Rodness and Stuart Stone. It is clear that these two men wanted to make a holiday movie in the vein of the foul mouthed Christmas movie, Bad Santa. Instead of just making a raunchy R-rated Christmas movie again, they decided to throw in some charm and hilarity from Groundhog Day and collectively made something so outlandish and insane, they came together with Vandits. As the script allows for some truly insane moments, we even get a shoutout to the Jewish people with a Jewish elf, it is rounded out by performances of some truly great character performances.
The entire cast, but specifically the main four of Tony Nappo, Francesco Antonio, Jesse Camacho, and Victoria Turko, knew exactly what they were making and how to execute it. They knew they were making an insane holiday movie that borrows so much from its inspiration and must be so outlandish and ridiculous that everything they do must reflect it. While none of the performances are remarkable, it is the fact that their chemistry and ability to be so outlandish and insane with their ideas feels like something you’d hear a buddy tell you about those guys he went to high school with; it’s a story no one can possibly believe but this cast pulls it off.
So if you’re tired of the standard holiday flare, and want something more enticing and certainly ridiculous, the Vandits will certainly have you covered.