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A musical comedy about a boy and a girl on their way out of love — at least as far as the boy is concerned — “Bench Seat” is a 19-minute mix of surprisingly good musical numbers and expertly uncomfortable scenes.
Feature-film writer/director Neil LaBute (“In the Company of Men”) wrote this short film, which explains why the bubblegum mood and songs suddenly morph into scary talk about psycho stalking and obsessive behavior. Director Anna Mastro delicately manages the mood swings, finding humor in the borderline psychopathic.
Cassie Scerbo and Kyle Riabko play the guy and girl, good-looking twentysomethings going for a park on a view above the Hollywood Hills. He’s come there to break up, but she heads him off at the pass, telling a harrowing story of having been dumped there by another guy two years earlier. He retreats, at least for awhile, with hilarious results.
“Respite,” he lamely offers. “I’ve heard people use that word.”
The musical numbers are a hoot, done on super-bright empty stages a la “Grease” — the guys all wear porkpie hats — and the tunes have a throwback style as well. Kevin Pollak makes a cameo as a bar denizen.
Fun, polished and with a streak of mock seriousness, “Bench Seat” has got snap.