Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kyle Patrick Alvarez's EASIER w/PRACTICE opens; Brian Geraghty shines in lead role


We see so few movies offering anything close to a different perspective on male sexuality that TrustMovies has no quibbles with the welcome release of Kyle Patrick Alvarez's interesting indie titled EASIER WITH PRACTICE. Half road trip, half back-home-again tale of two bro-
thers, one the typical player and ladies' man, the other a beyond-
shy writer whose sudden awaken-
ing to the heretofore undiscovered possibilities of sex comes via... Forget it. I'm not telling. You'll find out, in any case, within the first fifteen minutes of the movie, and from there the film only grows more interesting, as we see how differently these two men respond to women, sex and responsibility.

Alvarez, shown at left, still has stuff to learn about pacing and variation.  But, given his young age of 25 (when he made the movie), he's done a remarkable job with much of the direction and screenplay (from a supposedly true story by Davy Rothbart, and especially in his casting of the film.

The shy writer Davey is played by Brian Geraghty (shown above and on poster, top) lately of The Hurt Locker, We Are Marshall, Bobby and Jarhead. This is by far his best role and he fills every crack and crevice of it with believable, specific detail. It's due as much to this young actor as anything else that the film succeeds; to a large extent he is the movie.  It's his story, and though he remains a mystery right up to and through the finale, he is a puzzle worth solving that we have at least begun to unravel by the time the credits role.

Kel O'Neill (above) has the role of Davey's young brother Sean, bringing a cocky superficiality to the proceedings that contrasts well with Geraghty's seriousness.  One of the film's best scenes finds the brothers and their girls playing a truth game that goes places we've been and then to one or two that we've not.  The girls are nicely drawn by Marguerite Moreau (shown at bottom, right) as Davey's dish who's willing to give him a second chance and Jeanette Brox (below) as Sean's put-upon girlfriend who's rightly worried about his odd, sad brother.  The ladies lend an extra dose of kindness to the tale that our American men can't quite muster.

The movie, mostly chaste in terms of its visuals, get to the quick of things verbally and, as it moves toward its more-or-less preordained climax, surprises us with events that, while calling into question much that we've seen, do not play false with the story or its characters.  As much as we might like to mutter, 'No way!" to what we're seeing and hearing, we can't quite manage it.  Workable relationships are too few and far between, and human beings too odd and surprising, to discount any possibilities.

Easier With Practice opens Friday,  February 26, at New York  City's Quad Cinemas and at Los Angeles' Laemmle's Sunset 5.

3 comments:

Chester said...

Great review.

I saw this movie at a film festival a few months ago. While there are definitely "No Way moments", I was reminded that this is all based on a true story!

Read the original GQ article (only a few pages long) and compare. While the main character is changed, the craziest parts of the story are all true.

Anonymous said...

Great movie. You should all make time to see it!!

James van Maanen, said...

Thanks, Anonymous (you're not by chance connected to this movie in any way...?) I, too, hope people will take time to see the film.

And Chester, thanks for pointing out the "true story" angle, which I forgot to mention. Although, "based on a true story" usually has more to do with the first two words than with the last two, so I tend to take this kind of "truth" with a grain of salt. But I (and my readers) might want to check out the GQ version and compare, as you suggest. In any case, Alvarez and Geraghty do very good things with this story.