In brief: Gentle take on the quarter-life crisis with some great lines.
The quarter life crisis sucks. You’ve graduated with your butt-of-the-joke BA, moved up in the world to occupy a crummy flat and work in a call centre. The only thing worse, perhaps, is being a geek with too many comic books, still paying the rent on the flat once shared with a cooler lover. Who dumped you.
Fortunately, Chip (Charlotte, played by Chelsea McEwan Millar) and Hank (Jordan Blaikie) have each other. Chip is chippy and hank is (needs?) a hanky. And when you are your own worst enemy, you need a mate with whom to drink beer, banter over second-rate telly, and insult to take your mind off your own deficiencies.
Promising writer/director Sam Brooks is treading on well-trodden ground, but has some great lines; he is at his best when he skewers contemporary culture, even if he is so up-to-the-minute that some of the references sailed over the audience’s heads. His characters are likeable and engaging; Millar and Blaikie’s nicely paced dialogue kept the audience’s attention and goodwill throughout.
If I am to criticise Brooks for anything, it’s that he makes things too easy for his characters. They bicker with wit, but never really go at each other. Really having someone live on your couch for more than a few days can be a trial: the subtext between these two is always affectionate. Losing a job and worrying about money can be a nightmare, but you wouldn’t think so here. She drinks but she handles it. The stakes are too low and the positive ending didn’t feel quite earned. Perhaps a director with an outside perspective would have helped.
However, it was nice to see a female character more interested in a career than a boyfriend. It was nice to see a gay character more interested in left-wing politics than fashion. One suspects both come from the world Brooks lives in. Too old to hang out in student clubs, too young and poor to hang out in SPQR, you nevertheless feel that things are going to be alright for this pair.
She is going to lead a company. He will be on the next Labour government’s campaign team. Go and see this if you want to be reassured that it will all be okay in the end.