Saturday, July 19, 2014

DVDebut: Sloan Copeland's WET BEHIND THE EARS tracks the young, naive and unemployed

WET BEHIND THE EARS, the new film from NYC-born Sloan Copeland addresses one of U.S. society's more pressing problems -- what to do with the current unemployed-college-graduate generation -- in a light-hearted but never silly fashion, turning it into a pleasant comedy of latter-day manners that also includes romance, criminality and coming-of-age. Certainly not a great film, it succeeds so well mostly due to its dialog and performan-ces, both of which have intelligence and charm to spare.

Mr. Copeland, shown at left, is responsible for both directing the movie and for writing some of that smart dialog, the rest of which is credited to his adorable and talented star, a young lady named Margaret Keane Williams (on poster, above, and below), who turns the leading lady, a recent college grad named Samantha Phelps, into a naive but endearing ball-of-tinder just waiting for the right match to light her up. The match arrives, all right, but not so quickly and from an unex-pected source that leads to further surprises.

One of the most pleasant of those surprises is the attitude the movie and its moviemakers take toward a certain criminal endeavor involving movies themselves. In hard times, all kinds of corners get cut for reasons of survival, and Wet Behind the Ears-- even if it is basically a coming-of-age rom-com -- is not afraid to recognize this. And to treat it as just another step on the road to adulthood.

With no real work experience, our Samantha is finally forced to take a job at an ice cream parlor, while living with her parents and taking flack from her smart-ass older brother (Michael Giese, above).

Working like this, in the small town where you grew up, means bumping into former high school friends (above) and feeling "put down," but Samantha perseveres and finally connects to an old friend named Dean (Doug Roland, below) now working in the "film business," who becomes a kind of mentor, corrupter, and possible romance.

Meanwhile, best friend Vicky (Jessica Piervicenti, below) -- with whom Samantha was supposed to share an apartment once she found a job -- is having major problems at home, finding a proper roommate...

...and at work with a bitchy boss (Angela Jeanneau, below) who likes to make Vicky miserable for the fun of it. All of this is stirred briskly into the plot's pot for some humor, suspense and general good effect.

Every last performance here is energetic and fun, and with a consistent level of decent writing and direction, the movie proves a very easy watch.

Look for Wet Behind the Ears -- from Cinema Libre Studio, running 88 minutes and an audience favorite at second- and third-tier film festivals -- arriving on DVD for sale or rental, this coming Tuesday, July 22. (In about one month, the film will also be available via streaming/VOD sources such as Amazon Instant Video, Hulu and Cinema Libre On Demand.)

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