Monday, 8 September 2014

Nobody Can Cool - Two Odd Couples Do Not Make One Right

The film:
Nobody Can Cool (2013)

The under-the-radar factor:
The directing/writing team of Marcy Boyle and Rachel Holzman, who piloted this production under the collective moniker of Dpyx, followed up a 2013 DVD premiere with the current iTunes/Amazon VOD offering, a typical route for many indie filmmakers in the absence of opportunities for wider release.

The review:

Andy Warhol said everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes.

Notice he never said they deserved to be.

If Andy was alive today, looking around the digital world, I think he may have come up with the observation that, in the future, everyone would make their own feature length film. Hopefully his follow up would be the suggestion that pursuing such opportunities would not always be the best idea.

Case in point: the micro-budgeted wannabe thriller Nobody Can Cool, about a young couple who literately make one wrong turn. Unfortunately, filmmakers Dpyx make several.

Workaholic lawyer David and aspiring entrepreneur Susan (David Atlas and Catherine Annette) are off for a "relaxing" weekend at a friend's abode but zig when they should have zagged and end up at another cabin inhabited by psycho couple Len and the very pregnant Gigi (Nick Principe and Nikki Bohm). The latter fabricate a story about how they came there and something about a car that is no longer available. Everyone tries to do a nicey-nicey shtick (less so the snarly Gigi) and there is a general (if somewhat reluctant) agreement that David and Susan will crash upstairs for the night. These two folks go through a series of motions that pass for romance, followed by some that pass for revelations and disagreements, followed by some shut-eye.  A sound in the night awakens Susan, who discovers their car has been driven away and they have been locked in their room. She doesn't want to put up with that for a moment, whereas David seems to cherish sleep more than his well-being. (Hey, everyone has their priorities, right?) An eventual window escape leads to the city slicker couple's capture by their hosts. Turns out Len and his gal have committed a heist, with Gigi's cousin Tommy lying in a bed upstairs via a near-fatal gun wound, awaiting the return of the real face of trouble, his brother Mo.

But fear not - in a dizzying contest to determine which of these factions has the least common sense, David and Susan take turns with the crooks at capturing and being captured, all the time bickering and proving beyond a measure of a doubt that they shouldn't be a couple in the first place. Len and Gigi, while closer to being two peas in the same pod, are not too far behind in the incompatibility department. Marriage proposals take place at the strangest of times, while plans for from here to eternity are laid out, even though no one's future looks very promising with all these guns and knives being pointed at each other. Eventually Mo appears, looking as dangerous and assertive as we've been told he would be and as confused with the goings-on as he has every right to be. The tale ends with a predictable measure of violence but also a few genuine surprises.

In viewing the trailer you may feel a little left out if you're not packing heat. Everyone else is.

For every positive you can spot in Nobody Can Cool, you'll also notice far too many negatives. The crisp camerawork is betrayed by the unimaginative editing. The engaging performances by Nick Principe as Len and the underutilized Haris Mahic as Mo contrast to the one-dimensional approaches of Annette and Bohm (who don't seem to realize that teeth grinding plus yelling do not add up to "acting") and especially of Atlas, who never looks fully awake, no matter what life-threatening danger awaits his character. And while the story moves along at a good clip, the expressiveness of all the cast has taken the real weekend getaway, replaced by some of the most ludicrous dialogue you'll hear this side of Tommy Wiseau or Ed Wood Jr. The part where Susan and Len decide it's actually okay to do a little alcoholically fueled bonding after she's relived herself in front of him is one for the cinematic Hall of Shame.

So you may have guessed I didn't like this film much. That makes you considerably less clued out than the characters in Nobody Can Cool. Anything else that's positive to say? I will note that in spite of the general lack of merit that prevails, the strong drive on the part of the two female characters in refusing to be subservient to the wishes of their male counterparts is refreshing. I just wish I could say that its worth encouraging these two filmmakers to pursue whatever cinematic goals they have in their future, except, based on this project, I remain unconvinced they deserve such cheerleading going forward. The film world needs more women behind the lens but the results of this effort feels like a setback to that end.

The best thing I can say about this production?...

Dpyx is a pretty cool handle.

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