When the credits for the first part of this duology started, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect with this film or if I’d even like it. The ending to Volume One felt so definitive and complete. To my surprise, there was quite a lot more story to tell. Volume Two seriously surprised me and how much more was needed to make the story feel tonally complete.
Volume Two continues the story of Jon, drifter turned businessman and now boyfriend, who goes on a road trip with girlfriend, Traci, played by Kristen Stephenson Pino. The duo encounter Murphy’s Law in pursuit of a serious pay day. The narrative for this portion of the story is told through two time periods; one present day between Wiseau’s Harvey & Sestro’s Jon. While the other half of the narrative is told in the past with Pino’s Traci, Jon & all their adventures. Similarly, like Volume On, I am trying to be as vague as I can when discussing the plot – there is a lot to this film.
Tonally and visually, Volume Two, feels like a completely different film than its’ predecessor. Justin MacGregor returns for round two. MacGregor carves out an individual voice for himself with his use of lighting and color palette. Continuing to show his range as a director. There are a few aerial shots that pay homage to the sequel’s source material woven throughout the narrative. MacGregor makes brilliant use of his lighting, especially during the present day storytelling, crafting a sense of a noir mystery.
With Volume One I really felt like Traci was vastly underutilized and almost a throwaway character to some degree. I’m all for a love interest if that said interest has something to bring to the overall story. For the majority for the first installment, she rarely has anything to bring to the story. Fast forward to the second installment and her character honestly not only gets the chance to shine, and shine brightly I will add, but also takes her character to somewhere unexpected. Through, the beginning of the character’s journey to her final position of the film does come off a bit trope-ish and predictable when it’s introduced. How it comes full circle, though, that is where the surprise comes. Besides Pino, Sestro turns in another awesome performance. Though he can at times take a back seat for some of the story. His arc throughout the course of this film is deep and emotional – Sestro rises to the occasion darn near flawlessly.
With this sequel, we are also introduced to yet another new face: Rick Stanton; played by Rick Edwards. Edwards plays the antagonist of the story and my biggest issue with the film. Throughout its’ duration, Stanton tries to get established with a backstory. Ultimately, a lot of his lines are monologues. There is nothing with monologues if they are adding something to the overall story. Stanton is a character that feels two dimensional for the most part. It is isn’t until the final act that he is adding to the story and his long winded speeches are given purpose.
A lot of the problems that I found with the first film seem to cease for this picture. The story telling is stronger for this portion. The dual narrative allow the audience to continually be left on their edge of their seat as to what will happen next – creating an unintentional thriller element of the overall product.
Overall, Best F(r)iends: Volume Two, is a sequel that surpasses its’ predecessor. Allowing the story to breath simple and draw a satisfying amount of depth to its’ lead actor, played by Sestro. Volume Two takes one of the more underutilized actors of the first portion and shines a spotlight on her, which she rises to almost flawlessly. However, the addition of a new antagonist to this film with some rather drunk rambling aiming for character development – vastly miss the mark. If you were a fan of Volume One, this is a film you want to see and experience.
Credits: Best F(r)iends Vol Two is property of Lionsgate & Sestro Films. We do not own nor claim any rights. For our full length and spoiler filled review episode, hit play or download below :D