Friday, February 24, 2017

THE FREEBIE (2010)



Written & Directed By: Katie Aselton 
Cinematography By: Benjamin Kasulke 
Editor: Nat Sanders 


Cast: Katie Aselton, Dax Shepard, Marguerite Phillips, Joshua Leonard, Bellamy Young, Sean Nelson, Frankie Shaw, Ross Partridge 


In Los Angeles, Annie and Darren are a married couple in a comfortable relationship that's lost its spark. They talk constantly, express affection verbally, start the day with high-end coffee, end the afternoon with gelato, shop at the farmer's market, prepare dinner as a team, do crossword puzzles, and talk in bed. Darren wonders if a one-night stand would help bring more sex to their marriage. Soon, the two of them are laying out the ground rules and talking through the mechanics of each finding a lover for one night. They agree to give each other no details about the experience. The night comes. Will this give their relationship a needed boost


This is a more adult mumblecore film. Utilizing the same improv and naturalistic off rhythm methods of filming and dialogue. Only this film is different and plays by it's own set of rules. While it examines a couple who are settled more or less in their 30's. It's not so much about finding love as the other mumblecore films seem to center on or learning to be an adult. This one is more about maintaining relationships.

The central couple has hit a plateau in their relationship. So they try to spice up their love life to get out of a rut. They decide to give each other a free pass for a night to sleep with another person.

So the film is relateable as I kid life crisis dream scenario. The problem with the film for me other than the fact I am not a huge fan of mumblecore films. Is that and the audience will probably notice. While these films have a signature style and the films usually have good ideas. The films soon start to drain out of that freshness and get monotonous. You never really can stay interested in the characters as you find their problems more superficial and usually brought on by themselves. They are not dispicible and unlikeable st least initially. But while they seek emotional truth. It seems too late as you are already spent on them. Usually films that aim for that know the characters must be interesting in some sort of way.

My other bone to pick and it's not necessarily with this film In particular. Is as a minority, I know these films are usually autobiographical and are filled with non-actors, but I often find no one on the film to sympathize with, as they usually have no minorities in the film. And when they do it's only one who is usually either sexless or a minor character girlfriend or a co-worker. Mind you not a friend a co-worker I feel that minorities are underrepresented and show it's not just hollywood doing it but independent films also. I have seen the few variations of mumblecore films made by minorities and/or starring minorities like MEDICINE FOR MELANCOLY

These filmmakers consider themselves liberal and free thinkers. They usually are and come across as upper middle class and spoiled. Willing to push the button on showing sex, violence and nudity in screen. Though not having much diversity involved. Obviously not this films part. Just wanted to state my opinion on these types of films

In fact the only one that was enjoyable played more with convention more than any of these mumblecore films usually do.

This film spends most of it's running time which Is already short wit a set-up and having us get to know the couple together. Not as individual characters. As they are rarely apart. Which becomes tiresome. Then once they set upon their individual missions it gets exciting almost like a thriller. Where you are waiting with baited breath for the outcome. Which they leave a mystery until the third act.

Which deals with revelations and the aftermath. Which is when it finally becomes interesting a feels like a real movie. It then ends abruptly. One can appreciate what the film tries to do and the fact that it cuts out a lot of conventions that make other films of this type too long and unbearable as they usually chicken out of their initial concept.

I can't fully get behind this film, but I definitely see the talent of Director/Writer/Star Kate Aselton

The film even manages to make actor Dax Shepard appealing as before this film I wasn't his biggest fan, but this film truly allows him to have range and show his actual depth and talent as an actor. He steps up to the plate and hits a home run in his performance. There is just something about him though rationally I should have nothing against him, but maybe he was just too good or bad in his times In Other films. He came off as smug and overly confident. He joined the cast a mere 18 hours before filming commenced

Which affected me like Rob Riggle's character in STEPBROTHERS. Where he can't help but dislike Will Ferrell's character. Though he has no real reason to dislike him: he most does. That is how I used to feel about him until this film.

This film shows there is something actually to him. So maybe I'll come around. It happened with Chris Evans, once they showed they were more then just pretty faces and actually had talent.

I believe I am Disappointed by this film and the mumblecore movement as it seemed that these were going to be the films that kind of kept the quality and pride of the films of John Cassavetes. Knowing they wouldn't be that great but st least create stories around characters forcing the actors to speak and react in their roles. Becoming more dependent on emotional Truth and turns. Though they seemed to just become romantic dramas Again The film heavily relies on improvised dialogue.

For the most part by filmmakers who may or might not have anything to say, but felt like expressing something or at least chronicling their circle or generation. At least this one has a more immediate story and not dependent on random inertia and made up drama and situations. It is one of those beautiful interesting failures. An almost movie. As it is a movie to admire in craft and style.  


Grade: C

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