The Doctor normally does not bring an agenda into any of my endeavors, mostly because doing so requires a level of effort and stress with which I refuse to cope. But that was before the NFL scheduled the first round playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs to air exclusively on the Peacock network. Ironically (or perhaps not) Peacock was one of the only streaming services that I did not already pay for*. I mean, is everyone an asshole? It’s not the money, mind you; it’s the principle. I don’t want to give away my age, but I’ve been watching professional football free of charge since the days when there were starting quarterbacks named Steve Grogan and Cliff Stoudt. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be denied and I signed up for Peacock. Some NFL executive owes me $5.99 plus tax, although I will gladly settle for a written apology or a confession that they are a son of a bitch. I am fully aware that no such remuneration or letter is forthcoming, so my only recourse was to get every cent of value that I could strangle out of Peacock. Hence The Doctor dusted off my pen and watched Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain, and I’m glad I did.
Three childhood friends are now in their mid-twenties and mired in a state of what is known as arrested development. They all live together and work at a sporting goods store amusingly named Trout Plus while attempting to fight off adult responsibility in its various menacing forms. And who can blame them? Adult responsibility sucks, as I have long since learned. Our would-be heroes are brought to life in dorky and delightful fashion by Saturday Night Live writers Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, and Ben Marshall who all perform double-duty as both writers and actors. All portray their characters (named Martin, John and Ben, and why not?) with the right combination of chutzpah and nerdiness to hilarious effect, zinging each other and emanating a false bravado. Conan O’Brien also appears in a highly entertaining supporting role as Ben’s dad.
With their lives seemingly heading in diverse yet unsatisfying directions, the three friends decide to plunge into the nearby mountains to take a crack at locating the legendary Treasure of Foggy Mountain. Unbeknownst to them is the fact that they accidentally discovered the key to locating the treasure many years earlier while cavorting in the woods as youngsters. Standing in their way are a number of obstacles including wild and possibly smart-assed animals, amorous and untrustworthy female park rangers and a purple clad cult of weirdos who have rejected society. Calling all of that wacky is an understatement, but before you can roll your eyes at any silliness, something really funny ensues.
The successful multiple job roles performed by Herlihy, Higgins, and Martin can’t be understated. Their script is filled with one-liners as well as physical humor but this could easily have amounted to unrealized potential without their ability to bring the narrative to life. Too much cleverness can often be a slippery slope, but not in the hands of these guys. They are having fun with it all while somehow remaining genuine at the same time. The movie certainly offers us a rumination on friendship and the inherent difficulties on staying true to childhood friends as we grow older, but that is really missing the point of Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure Of Foggy Mountain. The point, of course, is to give oneself in to taking the ride with these characters and let the good times roll. This point is made manifest from the movie’s opening scenes and the tone thankfully never changes for the duration. Be willing to let your hair down and have some unapologetic fun like I did. As always, The Doctor wishes you all a clean bill of health.
* By The Doctor’s latest reckoning, I am currently subscribed to Amazon Prime, Netflix, Shudder, Disney+ and ESPN+. And those are only the ones that I remember. I tend to make important decisions regarding my leisure time late at night when my blood alcohol content is considered by some as no longer being at a “reasonable level,” whatever that is.