One of the more telling production credits in “The Treasure of Foggy Mountain” is that of producer Judd Apatow, whose own comic resume only grows more impressive over time. As much as this film is defined by its cheerfully outlandish humor and one-off visual gags, there is a mild stab at an emotional throughline in which John is getting more and more frustrated with how Martin and Ben seem to be growing beyond him and attempting (even half-heartedly) to be more mature. The film is only halfway committed to following this through, even if it’s somewhat like a parody of other Apatow-produced or directed films like “Superbad” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Considering the outrageous violence at the climax of “The Treasure of Foggy Mountain,” you get the sense that the three leads and writers are more in line with the “Anchorman” school of comedy; that, too, was produced by Apatow but far less invested in any emotional connections.
All three of the leads acquit themselves well (and clearly have the same amount of chemistry that they’ve exhibited in their past non-feature work), though Herlihy may slightly outshine his castmates, especially once Martin unleashes his profane alter ego in the climax. And it’s funny in a particularly ridiculous way to see O’Brien, one of the great late-night talk-show hosts, sport a goatee and serve as the purported grown-up of the film in a supporting role. (Of course, it’s doubly funny to see him in an NBC Universal project, considering how the company parted ways with him in 2010.) But the performances here are as beside the point as the plot — it’s about whether or not “The Treasure of Foggy Mountain” is funny, and how often it’s funny.
We’re more than 15 years removed from the Lonely Island’s first film, “Hot Rod.” On one hand, that movie too is fairly slapdash and hit-or-miss; on the other, with hindsight, it’s kind of remarkable to see how members of its cast (not just Andy Samberg, but also Bill Hader and Danny McBride) have moved on to bigger and better things. That small-town comedy served as a jumping-off point for its talented cast and crew, leading to an even funnier film in the 2010s (“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping”) and plenty of other remarkable shows and films. With that in mind, “Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain” may one day be seen as the start of a massive future for its three stars. For now, it’s a hit-or-miss affair, but one that hits slightly more than it misses.
/Film Rating: 6 out of 10