Akron Film Header
Akron Film Header
First off, let me say that I unrepentantly like one-liners. I love 'em. I appreciate them. And at the Akron Film Festival last week I did laugh out loud while watching New Low. Writer/Director/Actor Adam Bowers' (who incidentally writes for The Onion and does stand-up in LA) wit was spot on for a story about a man who is decidedly drifting through life looking to be infatuated with the right girl.
With that said, I'll now say that it was just too much. It was like watching a thinner, less vivacious Seth Rogan deliver an unqualified amount of monologue. This may of course be because (as was painfully obvious) the lead character was played by the same person who wrote and directed the film. Every scene had a suspicious bent toward creating a one-liner response a la Bowers. There ought to be an industry-wide standard that says there can only be something like 3 one-liners per 20 minutes...and they may not be delivered by the same character. Like most good things, moderation helps dictate effectiveness; excess just mocks itself. And it's in that spirit that New Low undermines itself. Spending far too much time on Bowers' monologue, it neglects...well...anything else.
The supporting cast is likely to have had a sum total of precisely zero hours of acting experience. Think Melba toast: bland, flat & uniform. One of the leading ladies, Vicky (Jayme Ratzer), has a startling resemblance (in personality and appearance alike) to an ex of mine. While they have similar artistic sentiments, they also share an inability to express themselves in any clear or convincing manner. The recklessness that Vicky's character is meant to embody just isn't believable. She just seems confused about the fact that she's on a film set and her performance comes across as disingenuous.
But it's not like this fact couldn't have been helped; good direction goes a long way. Absolutely no direction takes you just as far...the wrong way. Good writing can only get you so far, and this was not poorly written by any means. In fact, the writing was good; In the end, I think the film got away from Mr. Bowers and his poor direction nullified much of the good writing.
Would I tell you to see this film?
I would be inclined to do so with the understanding that you're not expecting a Judd Apatow full package: production, editing, writing, directing, etc.
See it and and laugh when you can, keeping that cynical third eye firmly closed.
THIS FILM: D+ (cuz I'm a sucker for one-liners!)