“Shall we eat one of those biscuits?” asks Guy Montgomery. “Before I entirely write off my night.” The biscuits are palm-sized chocolate chip cookies, made with love and cannabis. It’s nearly two on a viciously hot Tuesday afternoon in late January, and
we’re sat in the cramped lounge of a Grey Lynn flat, where Montgomery’s friend Tim Batt lives along with five others.“It’s like
the movie,” says Montgomery. “The quicker you’re in, the quicker you’re out.”
The movie is an Adam Sandler film called Grown Ups 2, and Mont wants to get high, watch the movie, then get un-high and go to work. The window to accomplish that is small, and closing fast.Work for Montgomery is stand up comedy, and later tonight he’ll do a half hour set at a downtown bar, Tyler St Garage. He’s really, really good, with huge energy and charisma, and has the Billy T James Award – given to the country’s best new comedic talent – to prove it.
Batt’s a great comic too, and twice nominated for the Billy T himself. He’s slender and fidgety, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans with a scrappy ginger beard. Montgomery’s tall, well over six feet, with a bristling moustache of the kind which used to be mandatory for television cops. The pair are in their mid-late twenties, an age where most of their peers are through the period where getting baked and watching a movie’s the thing to do on any given afternoon.
Watching the film is not just killing time for Montgomery and Batt. It’s also work. Excruciatingly hard work. The kind they’d do anything to avoid, that they can only perform when buzzed off of weed, booze and other stuff, when it’s around.
Because this isn’t their first rodeo. In fact, when I sit and watch them watching Grown Ups 2, it’s the 47th time they’ve watched the film in the past year.
The critics were not kind to Grown Ups 2 upon its release. “Lazy and stupid,” said the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Pap, plain and simple,” said the New York Times. “What happens in Grown Ups 2?” asked the Telegraph. “Almost absolutely nothing.”The plot, such as it is, involves Adam Sandler playing Lenny Feder, a producer who made millions in Hollywood before returning to his picturesque Connecticut hometown to sort of wander around aimlessly.
He and his buddies spend a day milling about and getting up to a bit of mischief, before… No, that’s it. That’s the entire film. That makes it a particularly empty vessel to consume even once, let alone the 52 times Batt and Montgomery have now done. It was not for nothing, though. After each and every viewing, the pair recorded a podcast during which they discussed the experience. They named it ‘The Worst Idea of All Time’.
Initially they talked about the film: its finer points, of which there are few, and its flaws, which are essentially infinite. Quickly though, probably even more quickly than they imagined, the podcast became something else. A ramshackle conversation about art, commerce, friendship, creativity and a thousand more things besides, all through the prism of this ridiculous movie. Summer turned to autumn and winter. Montgomery traveled to great cultural capitals like Edinburgh and Copenhagen and Barcelona. Batt produced radio for Hauraki and started a pub quiz.
Life continued apace, but wherever they were and whatever they were doing, they kept going back to the poisoned well of Grown Ups 2 and ‘The Worst Idea of All Time’. It was meant to last as long as they could stand it, but that seemed too easy – it allowed either of them to blink and end it overnight. They settled on a year instead.