Jake Johnson is the king of the independent comedy circuit and Ride the Eagle just further solidifies his current status. A major fan of his since his excellent show-stealing performance as Nick Miller throughout the entirety of New Girl, Johnson has always been an actor to keep an eye out for, particularly in comedies like this, because you might just unearth a little gem.

Leif (Jake Johnson) is left with a conditional inheritance when his estranged mother Honey (Susan Sarandon) dies. Before he can move into her picturesque Yosemite cabin, he has to complete her elaborate, and sometimes dubious, to-do list.

Ride the Eagle is a thoroughly enjoyable life-affirming comedy that hits the right notes both emotionally and humour wise as Johnson's Leif sets about completing his late mother's to-do list she left for him. It does it too without being so in your face about it all, which is a bonus, as these kind of films sometimes have a tendency to be either emotionally manipulative or having unsubtle humour.

That's all down to the writing of Trent O'Donnell, who also directs, and Johnson as they fill the film with some lovely exchanges between the characters, of which none feel as if they are out of place or just put there to provide easy comic relief. 

Coming to the performances, Jake Johnson is as watchable as ever in the lead role, bringing a load of his Nick Miller traits to proceedings without it ever feeling as if he's been ripped from that sitcom into this film. Nobody does the slacker role better than Johnson these days. He's joied by a really sweet performance from D'Arcy Carden as Audrey, the one that got away, and J. K. Simmons' brief yet impactful appearance. Susan Sarandon also deserves a mention as Leif's mother appearing on the video left to him as she brings a lot of sentimentality to the role that could easily have been phoned in.

While it doesn't break any new ground or leave such a lasting impression, Ride the Eagle is a really pleasant way to spend an afternoon in front of the screen with Jake Johnson in fine form yet again.

Verdict: ½


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