Made with $980 and about as many brain cells, Cupid’s Mistake is more cute than clever. A tale of titillation and rejection, Young Man Kang’s debut feature follows four unfulfilled twentysomethings in the City of Angels. Susan, the anguished actress, loves Gil. Gil, the tormented filmmaker who makes videos of frolicking women on the beach subtitled with Hallmark sentiments, longs for Toya. Toya is the model whose heart is lifted by bodybuilder Ken, her personal trainer. The star of Ken’s romantic drama is, you guessed it, Susan the thespian; the sexy circle is complete.
The dialogue, which was wholly improvised, includes the “like”s, “uh”s, and general feeling of contrived spontaneity native to The Real World. The we’re-friends-but-I-love-you scenes are either drenched with provocative sunlight or packed with candles; these techniques seem to be borrowed from the tamer selections of late-night Cinemax.
Also on the bill is Mark L. Feinsod’s A Sense of Entitlement, a superb 30-minute stimulation of the senses. The story centers on Jessica, an underachieving art student with a French boyfriend and her daddy’s credit card, who lives in Manhattan with her half-sister, Caroline, a former model. After yet another night of partying, the pair get the dreaded call from Pops, who cuts off the cash flow. The duo endure bouts of existential dread; meanwhile, cryptic and enticing trouble unravels when Father comes into town with his gun-toting assistant. With a sorrowful, Modest Mouse-y soundtrack, a sharp script, and vibrant cinematography (reminiscent of Red Desert), A Sense of Entitlement establishes a privileged world that’s less sunny but far more enticing than the Los Angeles beach.