A comedy doesn’t necessitate the greatest production values or cinematic craft in order to work. All that matters is that it makes you laugh. Lazer Team, a sci-fi comedy from the production company Rooster Teeth, does just that. It’s an entertaining zeroes-to-heroes story that doesn’t break any new ground, but charms the audience for 90 minutes with the manic comedic chemistry between its lead quartet.
The premise behind Lazer Team seems more complex than it really is. In the late ‘70s, the U.S. government received a transmission from friendly aliens informing them that conflict is coming from hostile aliens. In order to battle the impending alien forces, Earth must prepare a super solider, Adam (Alan Ritchson), who will wear a special suit provided to us by the friendly aliens. In present day, Hagan (Burnie Burns), a sheriff in a small Texas town, is on duty at the local high school football game. The quarterback for the team, Zach (Michael Jones), is a sixth-year senior driven mostly by ego and libido. Meanwhile, Hagan’s former friend Herman (Colton Dunn), a former sports star whose faded dreams have been replaced with alcoholism, is drinking heavily with his dimwitted friend Woody (Gavin Free). Following the game, Hagan has arrested Zach and is confronting Herman and Woody for shooting off illegal fireworks when one of the fireworks shoots down the alien spacecraft carrying the super suit. When each of them tries on a piece of the suit, they’re bonded with the pieces permanently. They’re soon rounded up by the military and forced to undergo training to battle the alien forces closing in on Earth. In order to save the world, the quartet must become the Lazer Team.
The screenplay of Lazer Team by Burnie Burns, Chris Demarais, Joshua Flanagan, and director Matt Hullum gives each of its team members their own story arc and allow the jokes to come from a position of character. However, if there is a dangerous flaw to their script, it’s the fact that there is a lone role for a woman – in this case, the daughter of Hagan (played by Alexandria DeBerry), who alternates between being a sexual desire for Zach and damsel in distress for her father. Luckily the film is able to build enough goodwill that this deficiency doesn’t derail the entire film.
As a director, Matt Hullum has a number of stylistic flourishes that enhance the silly action on the screen. For a modestly budgeted B-movie comedy, Hullum makes the most of his limited resources for maximum effect. Some of the CG effects aren’t exactly eye-popping, though it seems that in many instances that was a deliberate choice. Hullum’s weak point is in the lighting, which he overdoes in a number of scenes to excess – nighttime scenes are extremely overlit.
Lazer Team doesn’t break new ground, but it’s not trying to. For a little comedy set in the B-movie world, it’s a more than passable way to spend 90 minutes. It’s a film that doesn’t try to do too much with its premise, and allows the chemistry of its four leads guide the film from start to finish. Lazer Team gleefully mocks teenagers’ obsession with social media, sci-fi movie tropes, and the obsessive nature of high school football fans in the Lone Star state. Most refreshing of all, Lazer Team is a comedy that doesn’t rely solely on pop culture references for its jokes – it’s all from character and situation. We’ve seen sci-fi comedies that have four friends fighting alien forces – *cough* Pixels – to underwhelming effect. Thankfully, Lazer Team doesn’t fall under that umbrella.