Sunday, 5 December 2010

[410] Easier With Practice (2009) Review

Here's the first of my two-star film review marathon. Actually, in terms of publication, they'll be out of sync. So let's call it a curtailed sequence. I seriously wanted to enjoy Easier With Practice, and even though there were moments that did impress me, I found myself repulsed by its 'indie' sensibilities.

Maybe, as an aesthetic, it's just too hackneyed now. Is that line of storytelling, of kooky individuals in humdrum situations, exploring maturity and responsibilty, love and the human condition - with cool tunes, dysfunctional families and awkward pauses - already too well mined?

At the London Film Festival, both It's Kind of a Funny Story and Everything Must Go left me thoroughly unimpressed (there's a half-written article on them somewhere on my Google Docs account), as they were packed with the sort of twisted sentimentality and quirky cliche that has happened as the fresh, oddball style of independent cinema collided with mainstream filmmaking. In comparison, the flaws of Kaboom and Mars were unimportant, because they were in turns bonkers and inspired in their stylistic mash-ups. You couldn't nail them down.

Easier With Practice, however, is just too predictable. And, I wonder, how much of that is to do with its adaptation process, taken as it is from a piece of long-form creative journalism? There are two deleted paragraphs on that very topic somewhere in the ether - but it's a discussion for another day. In the meantime, here's my review.

Readers, I present to you this season's most archetypal indie drama-comedy character, in the form of Davy Mitchell (Brian Geraghty). He's a twenty-something aspiring writer, clad in a casual suit with loosened tie, squinting through glasses and hiding behind patchy stubble.

He's an underachiever, lugging around his collection of short stories (titled, with oh-so-profound laziness,
Things People Do To Each Other) on a road trip reading tour, progressing through the southern States from university cafe to cosy book nook in a beat up old car. His companion on this adventure is his brother, Sean (Kel O'Neill), who, fittingly, is his exact opposite. He's brash, crude, wildly charismatic and, integrally, a hit with the ladies.

For that seems to be Davy's problem, he's beset with that common affliction for characters of his type. He's awkward around women. All that's about to change, however, as he receives an odd phone call one night in a New Mexican motel. On the other end is a girl's voice, and the conversation (which starts innocently, considering the situation), soon develops into full-blown phone sex.

Read the full article here.

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