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Review by Rich Cline |
dir Nico Raineau
scr Nico Raineau, Lauren Schacher
prd Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Brittany Snow, Jon Keeyes
with Brittany Snow, Sam Richardson, Jordana Brewster, Anna Akana, Amy Pietz, Vivica A Fox, Shaun J Brown, Alexis G Zall, Robert Moran, Lanell Pena, Bryan Pitts, David Opegbemi
release US 20.Mar.20
Watch it now...
Mixing a snappy surface with some darker underlying themes, this comedy holds the interest with characters who are brightly well-played by lead actors Brittany Snow and Sam Richardson. Even if the story feels a little contrived, the interaction and situations are packed with edgy humour and hints of deeper emotion. And as it continues, this entertaining rom-com explores people who don't realise that they're purging their internal demons.
Court-ordered to attend sex addiction meetings, snarky Atlanta columnist Darla (Snow) instinctively rebels against almost everything, including the rule-bound gym employee Bailey (Richardson), who's in the cancer support group in the next room. With Darla facing unemployment and Bailey worried about a relapse, they decide to help each other by travelling cross-country together. Except that both are hiding something: Darla neglects to mention that she has pitched a series of articles about him to her no-nonsense editor (Brewster), and Bailey doesn't tell her that he's stalking his ex (Akana) in Dallas.
With moments that are witty and sexy, the movie has a sharp attitude that makes up for its somewhat flimsy premise. Surely a real sex addict wouldn't be able to remember each place she hooked up with someone, and Darla's odd plan is to re-enact each of these encounters with Bailey, often in public places. Of course this becomes less mindless as they get to know each other, heading for the requisite clank of the plot machinery. By focussing on Bailey, even in such a callous way, Darla is becoming monogamous, which adds a preachy moralistic edge.
Thankfully, filmmaker Raineau keeps things moving at a snappy pace, which helps highlight the More interesting odd-couple pairing of a sex addict with a man who had only been with one woman. Snow and Richardson play their roles cleverly, never tipping over into caricature while still bringing out Darla's and Bailey's more extreme personality traits. They especially shine in the more serious moments that offer some resonant introspection.
It's not remotely surprising that, even without trying, Darla and Bailey are dealing with their particular issues. The inventive aspect is that they do this with sex, even if the script kind of wimps out in the final act, becoming almost prudish as the various threads are tied up. Still, while the movie ends up feeling rather simplistic, it also finds some warmth in its sweet story about two messy people who inadvertently put each other back on track.
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© 2020 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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