Monday, August 5, 2013


I do not own the above image. Copyright Levrock Pictures.  All rights reserved.

                I have reached the next level in my amateur film critic hobby-dom.  A few weeks ago, I got an email from an independent movie studio executive asking me to review his movie.  When I could, I watched it with my wife.  During the whole 82 minute runtime, I felt conflicted.  Conflicted about how the professionals do this.  How are they able to write reviews of movies they are given?  How are they able to be truthful about a movie that they know the person who sent you the movie WILL be reading their review?  Are they able to really beat down a bad movie?  Is this something I have to learn as I embark on this odyssey of film criticism?  Here goes nothing.
            WILD GIRL WALTZ has the basics of being a decent comedy.  Two young women are bored on a picturesque New England summer day.  They decide to each take a drug one of the women got from a co-worker.  They start tripping out.  Their boyfriend/brother has to make sure they survive.  Surely this is going allow hilarity to ensue?  Not really.
            I have a theory about movie comedies.  There is a realism spectrum for comedies.  On one end you have “100% realistic” on the other is “100% absurdly ridiculous”.  To be a successful comedy, you should be close to either end of the spectrum but not on the edge.  Most Wes Anderson movies are on the realistic end of the spectrum, while most other modern successful comedies are on the ridiculous end.  Right in the middle, you have Adam Sandler movies and you know how those are.  WILD GIRL WALTZ starts at around 65% absurd but moves closer to the center quickly.
            Don’t get me wrong, I remember laughing.  After a (very) rough start, there are 20 nice minutes where the three main characters do some interesting things.  I started writing this review about 7 hours after it ended.  I just don’t remember one thing I laughed at.
I also don’t remember laughing at all during the last 55 minutes.  All I remember is sitting on my futon, just like I am now, and have nothing to positively react to.  WGW is full of little scenes that make little to no sense while they happen and look like terrible SNL skits afterwards.  An early scene deals with the girls’ “babysitter” trying to collect a debt.  The debt is never mentioned again.  Another scene involves a woman being knocked out for attempting to steal from the guy’s truck.  Makes little sense and doesn’t advance the plot.  The movie also goes on a love story tangent ala FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF.  It worked there, but doesn’t here.
            But for those 20 glorious minutes, the movie tries and somewhat succeeds.  There is plenty of potential here.  This looks more professional than most current blockbusters.  The material & consistency just isn’t there.  WILD GIRL WALTZ just deflates like a cheap beach ball.  Then suffocates you with its dullness.


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