It can be tough to figure out who you are and what you want in life, even more so if others have already made up their mind. That’s a central tenet of Danny Doom, a new independent film opening on Friday on Amazon Prime.
The film follows young Danny who had the misfortune of being born on September 11, 2001. While for him it’s a day to celebrate, for the rest of the world it’s a day to mourn. That creates a bit of isolation for Danny as a child, who doesn’t get much support from home, either, as his parents’ marriage implodes. When his birthday rolls around, no one feels like coming to celebrate him, either. Instead, he earns the moniker Danny Doom from his classmates.
Danny (Gavin Michaels) finally finds a place of belonging when he joins a local church and becomes part of the theater program. As he graduates, Danny finds there’s nothing he wants more than to finish Seminary, go into ministry and get a full-time job crafting the drama program at his church. He pitches the idea and on the day his plan is accepted Danny finds there is something he might want more.
That something is a date with newly single Megan (Brett Hargrave). But, despite Danny’s best efforts, Megan wants nothing to do with him. That is until his worlds collide. While in character as the rough-and-tumble Ham Bone for a drama production, Danny crosses paths with Megan, who is intrigued by the bad boy she fails to recognize.
That encounter sets Danny on a path that threatens to derail his set path but might win him an even bigger prize.
Comedy is hard, and Christian comedy is often an even more difficult hill to climb. Director Matthew Wilson has made a career out of taking on that challenge, delivering several Christian-themed independent comedies in recent years. Danny Doom fits right in that genre, mixing a sometimes-outlandish premise with a larger lesson and some awkward moments.
It’s hard to believe the situations being presented at times, but it frequently works thanks to the comedy style and a fun performance from Michaels in the lead role. There are moments of pure absurdity, but also some that showcase the relationship between Megan and Danny in character, as well as his struggle with what to do.
Things don’t work out perfectly, but the ending is satisfying in its own way. Danny doesn’t have a concrete plan, but his early idealism has melted into something more honest, to the point you think he might actually be on his way to finding himself.
The film has a decent look and moves at a good pace, clocking in at a crisp 84 minutes. Wilson has good heart and some biting lines in his script that help carry the film past some of the uneven performances, making the most of a lower budget production. Overall, it was an entertaining and enjoyable smaller film.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.