Easier With Practice Review
By Rich Cline
Solid twists in the tale add depth to this quirky American rom-com, which plays out with a breezily casual tone while building a surprising amount of tension along the way. It's also surprisingly endearing and funny.
Sean (O'Neill) is helping his nerdy brother Davy (Geraghty) sell his collection of short stories through a series of bookshop readings. More importantly, Sean hopes to help Davy get over a breakup with his ex-girlfriend (Moreau). Yet despite having a girlfriend (Brox) back home, it's Sean who keeps hooking up with women along the way, including one (Gavigan) who quite likes Davy. Then Davy gets an anonymous call from the sexy Nicole (Aselton), and without ever meeting they develop an explicit relationship. Or maybe it's just phone sex.
Alvarez has a terrific cinematic language, using static camera shots that let the characters roam around in the frame (or that let our eyes wander around the backgrounds). Even though we never see Nicole at the other end of the line, this actually makes the phone conversations more interesting to watch, as it maintains a vivid sense of both perspective and space. And the escalating relationship between Nicole and Davy cleverly blurs lines of fantasy, reality and expectation.
Geraghty is excellent in the role, giving Davy a scruffy charm that's irresistible. Cute, painfully shy and sharply funny, Davy is a terrific central character because we both like him and long for him to get his life on track.
His interaction with O'Neill is played with realistic brotherly intensity that creates both levity and pain. And it's the relationship between these two men that's the real core of this film, because the plot is otherwise rather loose and undefined.
The story both wobbles and takes a telling turn after the book tour ends, as Davy's continuing conversations with Nicole reveal his true loneliness and aimlessness, as well as a growing sense of resolve. Meanwhile, the dynamic between Geraghty and O'Neill is stretched in extremely well-played scenes with Moreau and Brox, plus a final sequence that shies just short of being truly revelatory. It's a complex story that's perhaps not as daring or profound as Alvarez wants it to be. But is so warm and likeable that it's hard to resist.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Thursday 26th August 2010
Distributed by: Lantern Lane Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 3
Cast & Crew
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Producer: Cookie Carosella
Screenwriter: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Starring: Brian Geraghty as Davy Mitchell, Kel O'Neill as Sean Mitchell, Marguerite Moreau as Samantha, Jeanette Brox as Sarah, Jenna Gavigan as Josie, Katie Aselton as Nicole (as Kathryn Aselton), Eugene Byrd as Aaron, Lance Capaldi as Book Store Owner, Lucas CorVatta as Waiter, Jamie Haqqani as Club patron Executive, Allison Hensel as Bartender, Tracey Horsley as Hostess, Danielle Lozeau as Amanda/Waitress, Emelie O'Hara as Crying Girl, Lauren Petzke as Blonde Woman