| Filmmaker Alex Holdridge took heavy inspiration from his own experiences as an aspiring young Hollywood hopeful in this funny, tender and bittersweet movie.
Wilson (Scoot McNairy), a shy and cynical aspiring writer, doesnít want to be alone on New Yearís Eve. He puts a personal ad on CraigsList hoping for companionship and intimacy with a blind date. When Vivian (Sara Simmonds), a beautiful and tough-talking blonde wanting to be with the right guy at the stroke of midnight responds, the two strangers embark on an unexpected, chaotic and hilariously awkward journey through the streets of Los Angeles.
Itís almost like Holdridge picked up the baton from Woody Allen in discussing love, sex and modern romance for the current dating generation, changing locales from N.Y. to L.A. The movie, shot entirely in black and white with a budget of a meager $12,000, plays like a valentine to Los Angeles. It compares favorably to the execution and style of Richard Linklaterís "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset."
The opening sequence of couples kissing sets the mood for this romantic comedy. The fabled kiss of the title is an attempt to capture the hope of a romantic future and obliterate the loneliness and missed opportunities of the past.
The natural dialogue contains clever lines that are brutally honest with underlying emotional vulnerability. Virtual unknowns Simmonds and McNairy have great chemistry. They flirt, play mind games, confess their deepest secrets and are unafraid to say whatever they want to each other in heart-to-heart conversations.
The audience develops a fondness for these two unique individuals and enjoys tagging along on their date. The crude and frank language leaves no stone unturned when it comes to sex.
This film festival audience favorite is geared primarily to people in their 20s and 30s, who will recognize the familiar terrain of speed dating, online matchups and instant gratification. Now showing exclusively at the Rio.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"