“Friendsgiving,” the new comedy written and directed by Nicol Paone, takes a surprisingly charming and hilarious approach to a traditional holiday.
Abby (Kat Dennings), who recently came out and has spent the whole year mourning her first lesbian relationship, can’t wait to spend Thanksgiving with her recently-divorced best friend Molly (Malin Akerman). But things do not go as planned: Instead of turkey, pies and tears, the two friends end up hosting a friendsgiving dinner made up of family, buddies, new loves, old flames and some psychedelic drug-induced fairies. The ensemble cast — which includes Jane Seymour as Molly’s cougar-leaning mother, Chelsea Peretti as a questionably certified shaman and Wanda Sykes as one of Abby’s self-described “fairy gay mothers”— carries the film at every turn. These delightful performances prevent the film’s antics from being dizzying and overwrought.
At the heart of “Friendsgiving,” like many movies of its kind, is a story about the importance of family (both blood and chosen). But the film also captures, with a deft mix of earnestness and humor, the messiness of grief. Abby struggles to let go of a woman with whom she felt safe, while Molly resists slowing down long enough to process her distressing marriage and subsequent divorce. The holiday allows both women to gather among people who, despite their chaotic energies and dysfunction, bring the two closer to something like healing.
Rated R for chaos and debauchery. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Google Play, Vudu and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.