Directed by Matt Porter Starring Max Azulay, Timothy J. Cox, & Dan Azulay Short Film Review by Sarah Smeaton
This laugh-out-loud comedy is simple, and in its simplicity is its true charm. We meet Max at the doctors while he’s waiting on test results. The dry comedy surrounding his sexual health in the conversation between him and his doctor opens this short film up in a cracking way. Immediately it is clear what type of humour we’re getting, and if you love the likes of Ben Stiller and his wry humour, then you’re sure to love Gunderson’s as well.
Timoth J. Cox and Max Azulay
Max, who is excellently played by Max Azulay, discovers that he has contracted a rare venereal STD called Gunderson’s. As his not-so-professional doctor (played by Dan Azulay) puts it, he has ‘the newest STD on the market’. Max is, however, reassured that it’s not too serious, and that the only symptom of the disease is in fact bodily twitching. Twitching that occurs when he is either stressed, aroused or hungry. Cue a great succession of hilarious scenes that play on Max suffering from these twitches at inappropriate times, including seeing two attractive girls and nearly crashing his car. The punchlines are simple, but the actors carry them off brilliantly.
As if having this rare STD, albeit a hilarious one, wasn’t problem enough, Max is due to start teaching a new health class to innocent year seven students. The result making Gunderson’s essentially School of Rock with the music class replaced with health class. This does, of course, allow for even more dry wit and hilarious inappropriateness. For example Max ends up sharing a lot of his sexual history with the class in a rather awkwardly comedic way.
It would have been nice to have seen more exploration of the themes here, and I’m sure such an original idea could have been pushed even further. Having said that getting towards the end of the short film, it does feel as if we’re getting to the end of the jokes. With a talented pool of writers (Phil Primason, Mark Azulay, Mallory Westfall and Matt Porter) there’s a real eclectic mix of humour, which at least in the first two thirds keeps your laughing out loud. If you can take this short film for what it is; a funny, dry-witted film that doesn’t take itself too seriously then you’re sure to enjoy Gunderson’s.
Director Matt Porter cleverly puts Max at the heart of every scene, turning him into an ordinary character that we can all identify with on some level. He’s portrayed as a real average Joe; a young guy who’s found himself with this extraordinary disease. It’s Max’s ordinariness that not only makes him identifiable, but also makes the comedy elements that bit more hilarious, as we can all imagine it truly happening.
This is a brilliant short film that is sure to cheer you up no matter the day you’ve had...if for nothing more than the knowledge that you at least don’t have Gunderson’s!