Dir: Theo Avgerinos. US, 2006.90mins.

Fifty Pills is a low-budgetindependent cousin of broad college comedies from the studio world like Road Trip or Van Wilder. Instead of a lush California campus, the indie version has grimy street-bound New York. Instead ofcheating in exams or losing one's virginity, the challenge is to sell 50ecstasy pills in a day. Instead of Jason Biggs or Ryan Reynolds, the indie version casts wunderkind dujour Lou Taylor Pucci.

It's a spirited affair, butfirst-time director Theo Avgerinos scores more misses than hits in its attemptsat hip off-the-wall comedy. An attractive young cast will help the saleseffort, but the film is unlikely to find the kind of cult fanbasefor which it was evidently tailored. FiftyPills premiered at Tribeca.

Shot on HDCAM in thegrey-skied winter of New York City and Long Island, Fifty Pills is the story of a naïve young college freshman calledDarren Giles (Pucci) who arrives at his city collegeto find that he is sharing a room with Coleman, a good-looking womanising badboy from a wealthy family. He immediately gets into trouble when Coleman throwsan under-age drinking party and is told by college authorities that he willlose his financial aid if he is caught drinking again.

Even though he returns tohis parents' home for Thanksgiving, Darren returns to find that Coleman hasbeen caught with booze again and that both Coleman and Darren are being heldaccountable. Darren is told he has lost his scholarship and is given a weekendto come up with the fees or else he will be evicted.

A remorseful Coleman givesDarren the option of selling 50 ecstasy pills to make up the funds and, afterattempting to sell all his possessions, he reluctantly accepts that thedrug-dealing option is the only way out.

Although his would-begirlfriend Gracie (Bell) disapproves of what he is doing, Darren spends a crazyday answering calls on Coleman's pager. He delivers the pills to two girls whowant to trade sexual favours for drugs, an S&M dominatrix punishing clientsin her basement and an unhinged yuppie (AmericanPie's Thomas) with a passion for 1980s sitcom Diff'rent Strokes.

Meanwhile he becomes thetarget of a local dealer who wants to teach him a lesson for dealing on hispatch and a thug (Pena) who thinks Darren is Coleman and wants his revenge forhaving been sold bad cocaine. Then there are his parents who have becomeconvinced that he is gay.

The film strikes a coolpose, with its casual treatment of drug use and dealing and a parade ofoh-so-eccentric characters, but without the visual flair or stylized tone whichmade one-crazy-night films like Martin Scorsese's After Hours and Doug Liman's Go sointoxicating, it comes across as more juvenile than cool. Pucci,Bell and Hensley are all engaging in the lead roles; Pucciin particular once again demonstrates his natural charisma in front of thecamera.

Production company
Coalition Film

International sales
Traction Media

Executive producers
Bill Shraga
Christopher J Johnson
Kevin Frakes


Matthew Perniciaro
Jake DeMaray
Kevin Mann

Matthew Perniciaro

Harris Charalambous

Production design
Bryce Holtshousen

Adam Stein

David Manning

Main cast
Lou Taylor Pucci
Kristen Bell
John Hensley
Nora Zehetner
Monica Keena
Michael Pena
Eddie Kaye Thomas
Jane Lynch