Bar Fight! Is A Battle For The Ages

Julian Gant as “Milan”, Luka Jones as “Allen”, Melissa Fumero as “Nina”, and Rachel Bloom as “Chelsea” in Jim Mahoney’s BAR FIGHT! Courtesy of Terri B Thomas. An IFC Films release.

Following their breakup, a former couple ends up duking it out in order to determine the right to their bar in the Bar Fight!

The premise behind Bar Fight! is one that makes for a solid comedy. We’ve seen what couples go through when they break up or divorce. What many of these films do not generally show is what happens with their friends and other local favorites. It makes sense that they would keep the friends that they had prior to their relationship. But what about the bar?!? I mean, if you want to go out for a night of drinks with your friends, what happens if you both end up going out on the same night? Awkward! Of all the custody battles on screen, this might be the most unique. It’s not a pair of exes fighting over custody to their children. Instead, it’s a bar.

After a cold open shows them moving in together, Nina (Melissa Fumero) and Allen (Luka Jones) break up a week later. It all comes down to a competition to see who wins custody of their favorite bar. It’s a fierce evening and Nina has the help of her best friend, Chelsea (Rachel Bloom). When it comes to this night of games, there’s a few that you already see coming and others that are quite unpredictable. One round features both Nina and Allen competing in a game of human bowling. That’s actually Melissa and Luka, not stunt doubles. Another round focuses on seeing which one is able to win the most phone numbers. At the end of the night, only Nina or Allen can win.

Melissa Fumero, Luka Jones, Rachel Bloom, and Julian Gant form the core of the film’s cast. When you’re casting a comedy movie, you cannot go wrong with any of them. This is the second week in a row in November in which fans can watch Melissa Fumero in a new movie or TV series. Surprisingly, it’s also the best one since Blockbuster wasn’t quite the laugh-out-loud series we expected.

I tip my cap to Jim Mahoney and the entire cast and crew. What’s unbelievable is that they shot this film in 13 days. They were supposed to shoot in 15 but there were two positive Covid tests. Listen, getting anything made during a pandemic is not easy. It is harder for indie productions. Throw in the increase in budget with testing and costs only go higher.

This is a film that takes place during the December holiday season. What this means is that there are a number of Xmas songs on the film’s soundtrack. If there are songs that you are looking to avoid, you might be out of luck.

Bar Fight! is a very different custody battle but the comedic cast helps to elevate the comedy.

CAST: Melissa Fumero, Luka Jones, Julian Gant, Vik Sahey, with Dot-Marie Jones and Rachel Bloom

IFC Films will release Bar Fight! in theaters and Digital/VOD on November 11, 2022. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.