Monday, August 13, 2012


Sometimes "amateur" is exactly what is needed. Especially when that non-professional exhibits an intuitive talent and sophistication that can put more "professional" names to shame.

CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME is the first full-length feature from writer/director/producer Madeleine Olnek, and it's a honey. Combining themes of the "other" (that gal/guy who just never fits in) with space aliens (even more "otherly"), love and the return of said emotion, this 76-minute movie is lots of fun and sweet without being cloying (it's too humorous for that).

Ms Olnek, shown at right, appears to have the gift for taking the hoariest cliches of both the sci-fi genre and the rom-com and infusing them with new life via a combination of charm, honesty (particularly in the performances) and a now-and-then surprise. The writing is crisp and often clever, the direction fleet enough to cover the occasional longueur, and the acting -- which ranges from the necessarily bizarre (those space aliens) to absolutely real and dear (the leading lady, beautifully portrayed by Lisa Haasbelow, left) to another smart and well-considered stint by the increasingly versatile Alex Karpovsky.

The filmmaker rings smart changes on the rom-com's usual "looking for love" theme, and Ms Haas bring oodles of natural, non-pushed charm to the proceedings. The space aliens (Susan Ziegler, Jackie Monahan and Cynthia Kaplan) are delightfully screwy and not a little "human," both on their home turf and here on earth.

The final touch is provided by the two undercover "Agency" guys -- Dennis Davis (below, left) making a terrific movie debut, easily matching Ms Haas for credibility, specificity and charm; and the aforementioned Mr Karpovsky (below, right) -- whose task it is to follow and apprehend the aliens but who seem to have much more to talk about and mull over regarding their personal lives.

The special effects are as tacky as you could want: silly, amateur and, by the finale, kind of beautiful, and the aliens' costumes are crackerjack (their speech patterns are wonderfully funny, too). Filmed in glorious black-and-white (with a dollop of color now and again), the movie is too slight to overpraise (but so much fun that it's difficult not to). So I'd best end this review right here.

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same opened in NYC some months back, to mostly sterling notices, and is only now making its Los Angeles debut, August 17th through the 23rd, at the Downtown Independent Theater. You can click here to see all future screenings, with dates and venues, and if you've missed it, not to worry: There will be a DVD coming soon or eventually.

Update: We've just learned that, as of October 16, 2012, the film will be available via iTunes!

The photos above are from the film itself, with the 
exception of the one of Ms Olnek, which is 
by Michael Buckner, courtesy of Getty Images

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