I think “The Climb” was intended as a buddy comedy, but it’s hard to tell because there isn’t one funny thing in its 94-minute run time.
It starts out with two longtime friends, Mike and Kyle, on bicycles in the French Alps. Mike seems like he’ll be our happy protagonist as the more experienced cyclist. But when the topic of conversation turns to Kyle’s upcoming wedding, Mike announces to his pal that he slept with the bride-to-be — and not just before Kyle met her. And just like that, the protagonist turns out to be the antagonist.
The incident in the Alps is just the first of several times in which Mike displays all the attributes of a jerk, the kind of guy you wonder how anyone can be friends with. He gets in fights too easily, drinks too much, and no respect for anyone else’s needs. In short, a person I wouldn’t want to be exposed to for long periods in real life or while watching a movie.
Kyle and Mike are played by Kyle Marvin and Michael Angelo Covino, who wrote the script together. As the director, Covino is fond of uninterrupted takes that go on for several minutes, a cinematic trick that worked well in Sam Mendes’ “1917.” But in Covino’s hands, it becomes quickly laborious, as he doesn’t even cut away from mundane sequences like a guy changing his shirt or picking up firewood.
Between those shots, Covino no doubt thought he was being artistic by using transitions like a group of gravediggers singing “I Shall Not Be Moved” or a pair of synchronized skiers moving down a slope. All those interstitials do is prove that “The Climb” is really nothing more than a series of vignettes designed to show us the odd codependent nature of Mike and Kyle’s lives.
To make matters worse, Covino wastes supporting actors like George Wendt, Gayle Rankin, and Talia Balsam as one-note characters who never gel as an ensemble.
I found the whole thing unamusing, boring, and a waste of time. I give “The Climb” a 1 out of 10, making it my current leader for Worst Movie Of 2020.