Let’s cut to the chase: I LOVED Rehab Cabin. The characters, despite being bumbling, self-absorbed kidnappers, are my people. In addition to being full of LOLs, it’s also a sweet meditation on friendship, nostalgia, and holding our favorite celebrities to impossible standards.
Chloe (Lacey Jeka) and her gay best pal Domenic (Scott Mandel) are two directionless 20-somethings who spend much of their time on the couch binge-watching their favorite movies from childhood, both of which feature young starlet Amanda Campbell (Alexandra Stebbins). Like too many child stars, Amanda hits the skids and grows up to become a Lindsay Lohan-style washout that’s regularly featured on TMZ-styled gossip shows that bemoan (read: celebrate) the former star’s drunken exploits.
This causes Chloe and Domenic lots of consternation, and they openly wish for some way to help Amanda get back on track. SURPRISE! In a twist of fate, while taking a shift driving her father’s limo, Chloe discovers Amanda drunk off her ass and in the backseat of her car. A quick, thoughtless plan is hatched and Chloe and Domenic kidnap Amanda, taking her to a remote cabin in a hilarious and ill-advised attempt to “cure” the star and revive her career so they can return to their couch and enjoy more of her movies. Shockingly, this plan does not work.
As mixed-up protagonists, Jeka and Mandel have an easy chemistry and are utterly convincing as life-long friends. Their interactions are comic gold, and when Stebbins steps into the picture as the hilariously acidic child star, things go off the rails in various and delightful ways. Written and co-directed by Kate Beacom (along with Louis Legge), Rehab Cabin hits multiple sweet spots: the tough transition from childhood to being a functioning adult, how we canonize celebrities only to revel in their destruction, and the difficulty in letting go of the nostalgia of youth.
The script is smart, consistently witty, and played with absolute manic comedic grace by Jeka—who frankly, is a goddamn revelation. At this moment I’m setting up a Google alert for her name so I’ll never miss any movie she happens to be in, and if she becomes wildly famous and eventually falls from grace, perhaps I’ll dream up a wild kidnapping scheme to rescue her from her troubles, which will once again put her on the path to… okay, see what this movie is doing to me? I REALLY LOVE REHAB CABIN! Watch it and enjoy being whisked away without express permission.
Here’s how you can stream Rehab Cabin as part of the Portland International Film Festival.