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Thursday, 22 August 2013

An Adventure in the Life of Barry Barksworth (2013)

Director: Kenny Colt
Stars: Cody Loepke, Peter Lane, Jason Halverson and Lolita Gongora
This film was a submission to one of the IFP Phoenix film challenges in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 submissions.
I wanted to like this film more than I did. I think what it boils down to is that when they say that it's more about the journey than the destination, that works better in real life than it does in the movies. The adventure Barry Barksworth has is all journey and no destination and it left me dry because of it. Until that point, it's good fun. Barry is a husband and father, a quality assurance engineer with eight years of experience, apparently a success in life by all the usual metrics. However he isn't the happy camper that his wife Trisha is. He wants a change and the day he spends interviewing for a different job constitutes the titular adventure, which is a more subdued but also more surreal version of the worst case scenario films that popped up a lot at the IFP Beat the Clock challenge this year. This isn't as touching or frenetic as Inflated and it isn't as funny or extreme as The Worst Best Man. It's just a guy trying to make it to an interview. What happens to him has mostly happened to most of us.

For a while, everything is done right. Cisco Saavedra does a fine job as Barksworth, channelling Fred Ward in a number of scenes. His wife is cute and his daughter steals a scene out from under him but then it starts to unravel. Rob Edwards is an agreeably inappropriate next door neighbour and Melissa Ann Marie Farley is precisely who you want to see in the car next to you at a traffic light, shaking her hair down and pulling a strawberry out of her cleavage to suck on suggestively. Why does that never happen to me? Oh yeah, I don't drive. Maybe I should start. This is all good stuff but, Farley's surreal scene aside, it's predictable and everyday. It doesn't stand out and that's exactly what a competition film needs to do. I'm guessing that there's more to come that didn't make it in during the challenge's time limit but, as it stands, the ending is weak and not just because there's an audible 'Cut!' just before the last shot. As a five minute film, it's wanting. At ten or fifteen minutes, it might have something.

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