Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In LOITERING WITH INTENT, Michael Godere, Ivan Martin and Adam Rapp create a funny, boisterous world of movies, love and life

A sweet little goof of a film -- filled with all the details of screenwriting, romance, PTSD, family, friends, pets and a weekend in the country -- LOITERING WITH INTENT also sports one of the best titles in a long while, the appropriateness of which becomes all the clearer by movie's end. The product of its writing duo (who co-star), Michael Godere and Ivan Martin, and its director Adam RappLWI (as we'll now call it) also makes room for some very popular and better known inde-pendent actors like Marisa Tomei, Sam Rockwell, Brian Geraghty and Natasha Lyonne. Though these last four alone would make the movie a must-see, LWI turns out to be smart, short, fast-moving fun all on its own.

When two actors (Martin and Godere, above, left and right) whose careers are on "stall" run into to an old friend (Lyonne, below) who knows a producer who has some money to spend on a new independent film, the pair tell her about their screenplay (as yet non-existent) which she says sounds so good that's it's a shoo-in to get that production money. So can you give it to me, please?

Suddenly our boys have to come up with the real screenplay and so they run off to a friend's country house to actually write the thing. (The "writing process," for this pair, is pretty hilarious.) There, they're confronted with everything from lack of creativity to unexpected guests.

The first of these includes Gigi (played by Ms Tomei, above), an old flame of Martin's, and her friend, Ava (played by Isabelle McNally, below), both of whom arouse our boys' libidos while seeming to want to engage in more than mere chat.

Soon another pair arrives -- brothers Wayne and Devon (played by Rockwell, below, and Geraghty), the former of whom has his own vital agenda to conclude. Mr. Rockwell, a past master of low-key, often off-key humor, here plays it mostly serious. Ex-military and suffering from that PTSD, he is, as ever, terrific and keeps us and the movie on our toes, while still becoming part of the excellent ensemble at work here.

Mr. Geraghty (below), on the other hand, is pure goofy joy. What a nimble and versatile young actor this guy is! He imbues Devon -- who has just been given his own "reality" show via Jerry Bruckheimer -- with such a nutty blend of blond, surf-boy machismo coupled to comically fearful homophobia that his every outburst is a high-energy, low-IQ delight.

The fine cast dances around (and often into) each other with skill and smarts. It's a constant pleasure to see them interact, and director Rapp, shown below, has the good sense to simply get out of the way and let his actors loose to frolic.

The whole movie has the look and feel of terrific improvisation, though the script is too often too good to have relied only on that.

How it all turns out has the feel of a nice rom-com, in which the right people do finally connect. In terms of our heroes' goal of screenwriting, even this comes to something a bit different than we might have expected, while remaining every bit as appropriate and entertaining.

Loitering With Intent -- from The Orchard and running a mere 76 minutes  -- opens this Friday, January 16, in New York City at the AMC Empire 25, and in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Music Hall 3.  Elsewhere?  Yes, and the theaters, cities and dates are listed below.
January 16 - Sundance Cinema (Seattle, WA) 
January 16 - Sundance Cinema (Houston, TX) 
January 16 - Cinema Detroit (Detroit, MI) 
January 16 - Shaker Square Cinemas (Cleveland, OH) 
January 16 - Carmike Sundial (St. Petersburg, FL) 
January 23 - Roxie Theater (San Francisco, CA) 
January 30 - Plaza Theatre (Atlanta, GA) 
February 6 - Harkins Shea (Phoenix, AZ)

You can also watch the film digitally 

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