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Please Don't Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain
Nepotiz seems to have gotten Please Don't Destroy where they are in the biz.
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I wasn’t terribly familiar with the comedy troupe Please Don’t Destroy (comprised of Martin Herlihy, John Higgins and Ben Marshall) going into “Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain” (now streaming on Peacock) as I haven’t watched “Saturday Night Live” (on which they’ve written and produced shorts from 2021 to the present) much in recent years. I think these guys have been positioned as the heir apparent to The Lonely Island (with a dash of the “Workaholics” crew thrown in for good measure), but if their feature debut is any indicator they don’t have the chops of their predecessors.
Martin (Herlihy), John (Higgins) and Ben (Marshall) have been friends since middle school and are now a trio of mid-20s roommates who work together at Trout Plus, an outdoor sports store owned by Ben’s Dad (an amusingly grumpy Conan O’Brien). Martin and Ben are growing up and moving on with their lives – whether that be with a Christian girlfriend named Amy (Nichole Sakura) or by setting their sights on taking over Trout Plus from his pops. Meanwhile, John is trapped in a perpetual state of arrested adolescence.
In hopes of bringing the trio back together, John digs up a compass they found in their youth. This tool could be the key to finding the titular Treasure of Foggy Mountain – a golden bust of Marie Antoinette valued at $100 million. To retrieve the relic our intrepid adventurers will have to outsmart park rangers Lisa (Megan Stalter) and Taylor (X Mayo, “The Blackening”) as well as Deetch Norwind (“SNL” staple Bowen Yang), a fellow explorer who got lost in the woods over a decade ago and has subsequently become a cult leader.
As directed by former “SNL” segment director Paul Briganti and scripted by Please Don’t Destroy “The Treasure of Foggy Mountain” is funny, but not funny enough. A lot of the pop culture asides amused me, but physical bits often missed the mark. I definitely think the screenplay could’ve been sharper. (John Goodman narrates the movie and at one point breaks character and says, “Oh, yeah, I’m John Goodman. I was in ‘The Big Lebowski.’” This is the height of comedy with which we’re working.)
I don’t think Please Don’t Destroy are untalented, but I suspect nepotiz got them to where they are in the biz. (Herlihy and Higgins are the sons of veteran “SNL” writer/producers Tim and Steve, respectively.) I’m not opposed to seeing more from Please Don’t Destroy, but their shtick could use some sharpening prior to their next outing. This was originally supposed to open in theaters – I can clearly see why it wound up peacocking on Peacock.