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Monday, 26 January 2015

My Date with Adam (2013)

Director: Dennis Schebetta
Stars: Tressa Glover, Brian Morvant and Julianne Avolio
This film was an official selection at the 10th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix in 2014. Here's an index to my reviews of 2014 films.
If Passing was a good story marred by a variety of technical concerns, My Date with Adam is a good story marred by circumstance. Technically, this one's accomplished, with excellent lead actors, great support and no technical issues to speak of. The tone is fun and the infectious humour makes the fifteen minutes zoom along like five. The problem is that the first half is entirely given away by the synopsis, the poster and everything else advertising the film, while the second half is utterly obvious, unfolding throughout as expected by everyone with no surprises whatsoever to be found. There's nothing here to compare to the depth of Passing, with its concepts on top of concepts pouring out of conversation like a couple of writers brainstorming a novel. This is a romantic comedy, pure and simple, merely one that happens to involve a robot along with its pretty girl. Fortunately it's still an indie short romantic comedy, so it contains none of the brain melting horror you might expect if a robot was thrown into a Hollywood romcom feature.

It's the lead actors who make the film. Tressa Glover is very believable as Sarah, a young lady who wants to find the perfect man before she turns thirty and she's running out of time. No conventional beauty, she still exudes sex appeal and good looks and would surely have no shortage of offers; if only she might be willing to settle for anyone less than perfect. She knows perfect exists, because she works as a wedding planner and, among all the nightmares she encounters apparently daily in her professional life, she does see those magic moments too when everything goes right and everyone goes aah. Brian Morvant is very believable as Adam, her last chance date who seems to be very promising online but is a little less so in person. 'I'm not very good at small talk,' he explains on their first date and he's right. He has trouble with humour as well and doesn't seem to be quite all there. One odd twitching problem and off he runs in a nervous hurry, quickly blaming a migraine for his failings.
The point, of course, is that Adam is a robot, which wouldn't be too surprising to anyone who hadn't read the synopsis or looked at the poster but is spoiled there because we have a second half to the film. After a successful second date, he takes her home, they kiss, he sparks and collapses to the ground and a van of stereotypical nerds drive up to whisk him away for repairs. Their leader is Philip and Brian Morvant has a lot of fun playing him too. With Morvant's versatility in a double role and Sarah's glorious meltdown at Perfect Weddings, this unfolds very nicely indeed, but there isn't an moment of surprise to be found as it does so. Perhaps if I'd watched this as a romantic comedy, I might have been happier, because romcoms need characters and charisma, which this has in spades, over originality. However, I watched it as a sci-fi short and so I wanted original ideas to go along with the fun. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but believe it would have played better at the Phoenix Film Festival proper rather than within its horror/sci-fi track.

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