Indy Film Fest: Almosting It
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Ralph (William von Tagen) is shown at the beginning of the film making phone calls to some of his old flames (dating back to his adolescence) in a desperate attempt to get a date for an upcoming wedding. Ralph is an employee at a retirement home with his best friend and roommate, Maggie (Cassandra Lewis), although their relationship has not progressed beyond anything platonic. The two share the same bathroom and even drive to work together in the same car. I immediately thought, “Isn’t this a similar setup as ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno?’ ”
At the wedding, Ralph bumps into his old lover, Lorane (Annie Bulow), who — in the process of letting him know that she is currently engaged — belittles him for not having matured in the time since they split. This observation, coupled with Ralph’s own insecurities, begins to plague him. My second thought was, “Isn’t this a similar premise as ‘Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion?’ ”
Ralph takes time to reflect on his failed relationships in a writing class where he is attempts to pen a sci-fi novel that parallels his own love life. His classmates mock him (hilariously so) for his lack of realism; Ralph is told by his writing instructor that he needs to get more life experience in order to make his story more believable. Throughout the film we get snippets of Ralph’s sci-fi novel, and as he grows, so does his story.
Ralph meets a beautiful caterer named Quinn (Jessica Sulikowski), and all of a sudden, his writer’s block is cured. Of course he doesn’t do this on his own; he is aided by his friends from the retirement home, Mort (Terry Kiser) and Chet (Lee Majors). Their comedic addition brings a much needed zest to a film that seems to be struggling to find its own identity (much like Ralph’s character struggles to find the heart in his sci-fi novel).
The film has moments where the pacing drags, and von Tagen has several offbeat scenes that probably could have stayed on the cutting-room floor. Overall, the film is well composed and leaves the viewer feeling somewhat satisfied, but nothing differentiates it from any of the aforementioned films that it resembles.