Changeland | 2019 | 1 hr 26 minutes | dir. Seth Green | Gravitas Ventures
I watched that Brenda Song Netflix movie and thought, “wow, that Brenda song sure does make some great faces. Too bad this movie is RIDICULOUS.”
So I checked on Brenda’s Instagram and saw that she made a new movie with Seth Green and her boyfriend Macaulay Culkin. It’s called Changeland, and Seth Green wrote, directed and starred in it.
“Two years ago almost to the day, I went to Thailand and made @changelandmovie with my best friends,” Song posted.
Green cast his pals Breckin Meyer, Randy Orton, Branda Song and beau Macaulay Culkin, and wife Clare Grant. He filmed on location in Thailand, which looks beautiful but probably wasn’t very expensive. The film features your favorite songs from 2011 and looks like the editor threw the Lo-Fi filter over the entire thing.
Seth Green, whom I normally really like, cast himself as a sad married man who invites his best friend Dan (Breckin Meyer) on his would- be anniversary trip to Thailand after he discovers his wife’s affair.
Ironically, Seth Green really drags down the film. He. Is. SO sad. It seems like Green, who runs Robot Chicken, tired of typecasting and wrote himself something serious. The script has literal dialogue; delivery and timing feel awkward. Breckin Meyer gets the best lines. Everyone else kind of sounds like a fortune cookie. Green did not play to his strengths, and I wish he had.
His friends and family members give glorious, colorful performances. Breckin Meyer does his best to pick up Seth’s spirits (and the movie’s pace) by providing jokes, support and a whimsical attitude. Even at 45, Breckin Meyer is still pretty cute. Brenda Song plays a Thai exchange student named Pen who speaks perfect English, but puts on a broken accept to get better tips on the boat tours. Green cast his wife, Clare Grant, as a tough tour guide who tries to resist Meyer’s charms, but eventually connects with him. The eternally endearing Macaulay Culkin plays another bon vivant: this time, he’s a homosexual South Dakota transplant who wears giant Elton John sunglasses, watermelon swim trunks and beats up Thai boxers at bars for fun.
The whole thing feels inspired by a trip to Thailand countless white people have taken before. Green’s character hikes Enlightenment Falls, gets blessed by a Buddhist monk and chickens out of a cliff jump. Western couples pepper every shot. Brenda Song, actually Thai, brings the closest thing to cultural sensitivity. The credits show a bunch of Thai street cats. Americans love cat videos. Thailand has a serious feral cat problem. Some viewers might see cute cat videos. I saw a feral cat problem. I would have appreciated seeing Thailand as more than a place for Westerners to escape.
But whatever. It’s not a movie about Thailand, it’s a movie about a guy deciding if he should leave his wife or not. You feel like you’re on vacation. The characters get the trip every Instagram user fantasizes about: a trip both photogenic AND meaningful. Film Threat called Changeland “Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s low- budget cousin”. Accurate.
Seth Green made a Nice First Movie. He showed some dramatic range. His friends seem hilarious. My favorite part was when the girls dressed like this:
I also liked the opening credits, which Green strategically places over his face.
So if you can’t afford a trip to Thailand this summer, crack open a coconut and flick on Changeland.