Yet another raunchy dude comedy that goes soft at the midway point, Someone Marry Barry betrays its initial dirtiness by indulging in sappy conventions delivered with a lethargy that suggests the film knows it’s selling itself out. The man-child at the center of this maelstrom is Barry (Tyler Labine), a thirtysomething so wildly inappropriate and uncouth that his three best friends—womanizing single dad Rafe (Hayes MacArthur), married Desmond (Damon Wayans Jr.), and weirdo Kurt (Thomas Middleditch)—have turned the name “Barry” into a universal term denoting a tasteless friend who creates nothing but chaos. Barry is a typical only-in-the-movies boor, rampaging through life without a care for the carnage he wreaks. In Labine’s hands, he’s a lovable lout, thoughtless but innocently good-natured, which makes it more palatable to watch him embarrass Rafe at his dad’s funeral (where he tells tales of porno, drugs, and philandering), get Desmond fired by making sexual comments about the boss’ daughter, and ruin Kurt’s marriage-proposal plans by masturbating to a picture of Kurt’s controlling fiancée Camille (Frankie Shaw).
Writer-director Rob Pearlstein stages Barry’s early misbehavior with TV-sitcom-grade visuals, but just enough creative profanity to keep the proceedings sporadically chuckle-worthy. When the ornately filthy Barry goes into a detailed digression about how he created the epithet “twunt,” it’s hard not to be mildly amused with the character’s clueless nastiness. Someone Marry Barry coasts along on such gags until Barry’s three friends decide that in order to save their own faltering personal lives, they need to escape their ne’er-do-well pal—specifically, by finding him a bride who’ll be forced to put up with his nonsense forever. That leads to dating mishaps—including a speed-dating montage—in which the game Labine delivers hilarious blunt-talk to his prospective mates, but true love doesn’t become a viable possibility until he experiences an unlikely cab-ride meet-cute with Melanie (Lucy Punch), a Brit with an equally foul mouth and lack of interest in propriety.
Labine and Punch have a natural curse-for-curse chemistry that suggests Someone Marry Barry might actually push past the now-standard juvenile-men-grow-up template. But no, once Pearlstein pairs off Barry and Melanie, he resorts to stale second-act crises that throw everyone’s sense of stability into disarray, forcing Barry and Melanie to reconsider their immaturity, what’s important to them, and all sorts of similar gibberish that murders any remaining humor. The way the film hews to tiresome conventions is itself a buzzkill, but worse is its sheer lack of energy, as Pearlstein stages serious and/or heartfelt conversations that go on twice as long as necessary and treat the characters as more than the two-dimensional caricatures they actually are. By not remembering that its only trump card is its creatively smutty way with words, Someone Marry Barry instead eventually falls on its face dispensing the very clichés—about love, friendship, loyalty, tolerance—a real “Barry” would waste no time on.