Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The lighthearted side of Hurricane Sandy (yes) in Farsad & Redleaf's 3RD STREET BLACKOUT

It may prove heavy-going over the first few minutes of 3RD STREET BLACKOUT, a new nerd-variety rom-com from the acting/producing/ directing/writing team of Negin Farsad and Jeremy Redleaf. But hold on (and listen carefully as the sometimes quite clever dialog bounces, super-fast, out of the mouths of the cast) and you'll very likely be taken in by this (eventually pretty charming) little lark. It's throwaway, certainly, but there have been many less interesting examples of the genre on which to spend your time.

Mr. Redleaf and Ms Farsad (shown above, right and left, respectively) play, TrustMovies is guessing, some sort of version of themselves as Rudy and Mina, two smart yet socially inept nerds who have lucked into a clearly good relationship with each other but who suddenly go out of their way to fuck things up.

While at a TED conference, Mina finds herself involved with a possible business investor (the goofy-but-sexy Ed Weeks, above, right) who wants to add some lovemaking to the deal. Back and forth from present to past the movie jumps, raising the question of will she/won't she and did she/didn't she. When Rudy gets wind of what did or didn't happen, our couple takes a break from each other.

Most of this occurs simultaneously with Hurricane Sandy that cuts power in lower Manhattan for some days and provides the film with additional humor and satire about how lost the tech generation can be without its apps and all of its electrically-charged devices.

The supporting cast includes a bunch of goofy charmers, most of whom have verbal diarrhea, just as does our lead couple. For me Ms Farsad comes awfully close to sinking the ship but finally manages to balance things out by staying just this side of teeth-grinding annoyance. (My spouse found Farsad more bearable than I but had trouble with Rudi's two best friends/business associates.)

Among the best-known of the actors are Janeane Garofalo (above, left) in a very small role; Phyllis Somerville (below), who plays the couple's funny, wise and love-lorn neighbor; and especially Miles J. Harvey as a much-used and very acquisitive messenger boy.

3rd Street Blackout , released via Paladin and running 87 minutes, opened a couple of weeks ago in New York and is still playing at the Somerville Theater in Somerville, Massachusetts. Soon(er or later), I should think, the film will be available on DVD and digitially. It's certainly worth a watch for those inclined toward quirky rom-coms.

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