Genre Mashup Love Sick Love Skirts Black Comedy and Farfetched Psychodrama
When a film mashes up two seemingly unlike genres, we're too quick to praise the hybridization as a "fresh twist" or subversion of formula, even if those disparate elements aren't engaging each other thematically or aesthetically. (For instance, has anyone married zombie horror with comedy as flavorfully as Shaun of the Dead?) The fourth feature from director Christian Charles—following the Jerry Seinfeld doc Comedian, the teen dramedy Full of It, and a Cheech and Chong reunion concert—attempts to transform meet-cute romance into an absurdist fatal-attraction thriller, but ends up neither fish nor fowl. A shallow, womanizing Manhattan businessman (Matthew Settle) is warned by an office sidekick (Jim Gaffigan) that he's leading on his hot new girlfriend (Katia Winter), who indeed comes off clingy and tragically insecure. But after she coerces her new beau into a remote cottage getaway, her two kids and bellicose folks (M. Emmet Walsh and Charlotte Rae from The Facts of Life) suddenly appear, along with their collective psychosis that only perfect relationships can survive New Year's Eve. The family cuts off the guy's steering wheel, chains him up, and worse, creepily reenacts all the major holidays to decide his fate. It's left for you to decide whether all this is a laughless black comedy or a lame, farfetched psychodrama.
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