Film

Coming-of-Age Comedy Hollidaysburg Intertwines Its Stories Gracefully

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“Comedy lives in the two-shot,” Harold Ramis once told actor Stephen Tobolowsky, and whether or not that’s something that director Anna Martemucci took specifically to heart, her darn good Hollidaysburg is interested less in close-ups than in the reactions her young adult characters have to each other as they share the frame.

A coming-of-age comedy that compresses the whole transition from adolescence to adulthood into one Thanksgiving weekend, the film concerns a group of high-school friends returning home from college a scant three months after prolonged, emotional goodbyes at the end of the summer. Scott (Tobin Mitnick) and Heather (Claire Chapelli), former sweethearts who have matriculated on separate coasts, spend the weekend mostly avoiding each other.

Heather is depressed and already considering dropping out, spending the holiday getting stoned, arguing with her father, and trying on fast-food jobs for size. Scott cute-meets Tori (Rachel Keller) when she hits him with her van. Easily embarrassed, sensitive, prone to feelings of shame, she’s a high-school outcast reveling in the new identity moving for school afforded her.

Scott’s homesick, a high-school cool guy whose high-fives go unreturned in the new environment of UCLA; Dan Schoffer’s funny, gentle script encapsulates his plight with his return to the empty house his parents have already moved away from, leaving nothing but their expectation that he’ll finish packing his room over the weekend. Martemucci intertwines these stories gracefully, and with the charm and charisma of her cast, makes clever banter and script contrivances seem completely natural and unaffected.

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