Here’s an equation for third-period math: Take “Superbad,” “Booksmart,” and, hell, any teen-party movie, add in a useless overarching conceit, subtract all originality. The result is “The Binge,” a new Hulu original that is only exceptional in its mind-numbing inanity.
In “The Binge,” two friends — let’s call them Uptight Overachiever With a Secret Crush (Skylar Gisondo) and Horny Best Friend (Dexter Darden) — try their darnedest to get to an epic party but are repeatedly thwarted along the way. They team up with a third, Quirky Outsider (Eduardo Franco), and try to evade Adult Authority Figure (Vince Vaughn). (No need for names here, because transparent character types are the most the film offers.)
Unremarkably directed by Jeremy Garelick, the movie seems somewhat aware of its utter lack of novelty; its one feeble attempt to distinguish itself is by framing its story as a parody of “The Purge,” about a dystopia where, once a year, people are free to murder and plunder as they wish. Here, drugs and booze are banned except for this one 12-hour period a year.
But the film can’t figure out the purpose of its own parodic conceit except as a way to put new wrapping on the same old package; the result is a concept that has little point or bearing on the plot.
As the movie’s biggest name, Vaughn regresses to his second-rate deadpan comedy roles of old, forcing his way through a comedically constipated performance. But with a drugged-up cow, a substance-fueled game involving alligators and doughnuts (yes, really) and a tiresome musical number, “The Binge” aims to serve a boffo rager of a time but feels more like a 90-minute concussion.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes. Watch on Hulu.