One of the most unforgettable scenes from “The Breakfast Club” is when each student reveals their juiciest secrets. Now, take that same scene and imagine it without all of the context that precedes it: no impromptu dance sequence, no racy banter between Claire and Bender and no recollection of the nerd, jock, burnout and princess archetypes that each character embodies. Without these previous scenes, which are fundamental in establishing the characters’ personalities and backstories, we would have zero reason to invest in any of the protagonists, and this infamous classic would be just another mediocre ’80s teen flick. “Who Would You Take to a Deserted Island” is this hypothetical Breakfast Club failure. Unable to create multidimensional characters, and providing a minimal frame of reference for the characters’ relationships, the film is nothing short of lifeless, earning itself the label of just another low-quality drama.
On a hot, summer day in Madrid, tensions fizzle between twenty-somethings housemates Celeste (Andrea Ros “[Rec] 2”), Eze (Pol Monen “Loving”), Marcos (Jaime Lorente “Money Heist”) and Marco’s live-in girlfriend Marta (María Pedraza “Money Heist”), as they each prepare to enter new life chapters and go their separate ways. Determined to celebrate their friendship with one last hurrah, the gang hits the town for a wild night saturated with alcohol and drugs. Though intending to dance the night away, their spirited evening quickly turns sour upon returning to their apartment for a nightcap. As the drinks flow freely, the roomies strike up a seemingly innocent game of what-ifs, but soon suppressed secrets bubble to the surface, tears are spilled and the very fabric of the foursome’s bond threatens to tear.
Central to the film’s flimsiness is its practically non-existent plotline. It is almost insulting to viewers to suppose that we would latch onto a drama crafted under circumstances as stupid and immature as a party game. Yes, the game was just the spark that blew up the layers of resentments and hostilities beneath, but the fact that the bonds shared between these longtime friends were able to topple faster than a house of playing cards seems quite unrealistic and excessively melodramatic.
Despite assumed attempts to wow audiences with high drama and attractive actors, the hard truth is that this film is literally about nothing. The majority of its scenes feel pointless and without direction because, with such a barebones plot, there truly is nowhere to go but in circles. The film is a dangerous combination of puddle-deep characters mixed with reality TV level drama. The year-long resentments and heated love-triangles that are thrown our way seem to come out of nowhere, making the theatrically-staged argument scenes appear more dull and confusing than profound. Further, without exploring the intersection and history of the characters’ stories, the film makes the costly mistake of expecting us to put together the pieces ourselves. This leads us to disconnect entirely.
Harsh or not, there is honestly not much that can be said on behalf of “Who Would You Take on a Deserted Island.” Lacking rhythm, direction or tang, though only a mere hour and a half long, the film feels unbearably slow, ultimately coming off as a tedious and valueless muddle.