Well Go USA // 2013 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // September 3rd, 2013
LA dreams can come true!
"If you don't make a move, I'm going to have to do it for you."
Dale Squire (Lacey Chabert, Mean Girls) just hasn't had much luck with relationships. One boyfriend turned out to be a cheater, another revealed that he was gay and yet another turned out to be a bisexual cheater. The guy she dated most recently had both a wandering eye and a slightly unnerving toe-sucking fetish. As such, Dale has determined that she's more or less done with men. Ah, but when she reconnects with her old flame Zach (Kip Pardue, The Rules of Attraction), she begins questioning her recent vow to give up on romance.
Christie Will's Slightly Single in LA is a lightweight, cheerful movie that could easily pass for the double-length pilot of show being broadcast on The CW, ABC Family or Lifetime. That's not really my sort of thing, but there's certainly an audience for this sort of stylized comedy-drama. It's the kind of movie where characters behave semi-realistically during a handful of key dramatic scenes, but allow themselves to turn into chick flick stereotypes (the conflicted protagonist, the wild party friend, the self-absorbed handsome guy, the selfless handsome guy, the girl who's always berating her boyfriend, the gay best friend, etc.) the rest of the time. However, that's not the film's real problem.
The central issue I had with this alternately silly and serious relationship drama is that it takes great pains to keep two people who are clearly attracted to each other apart for an absurd length of time. In one corner, we have Dale, a nice girl who has been searching for a decent guy for ages. In the other corner, we have Zach, an impossibly nice guy with a crush on Dale who is both quite handsome and a Grammy-winning rock star. He asks her out on dates at multiple points over the course of the film, but nope, Dale can't bring herself to try to start a relationship with this guy, because...well, because all of the other relationships she's been in have flopped.
I suppose there's some truth to the idea that sometimes a person can't even see a great relationship when it's right in front of them due to past heartbreak. That being said, the other guys Dale has been with are so cartoonishly awful and Zach is so ridiculously dime store novel perfect that it's hard to ignore just how willfully blind she's being. No matter what charms the film offers up along the way, the foolishness required to keep these two nice people apart for the duration of the film just about wrecks the whole thing.
Killing time between this central tale are subplots involving Dale's assorted friends. One involves Jill (Haylie Duff, Material Girls), who seems to be constantly arguing with her fiancé Drew (a surprisingly good Chris Kattan, Saturday Night Live) as they approach their wedding day. This particular tale is arguably the most interesting thing the film has to offer, a genuinely complicated (if ham-handed) take on the manner in which relationships can disintegrate if you try to force things to go the way you want them to. Elsewhere, there's a subplot involving Hallie (Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Step Up), a sexually overeager friend of Dale's who might just get to Zach first if Dale doesn't make a move. It's as clunky and contrived as it sounds, though Dewan-Tatum deserves credit for putting a great deal of energy into the performance.
Slightly Single in LA (Blu-ray) has received a middling 1080p/1.85:1 transfer that highlights the film's low-budget nature. It doesn't look bad, exactly, but it lacks the polish and pop of a larger studio release (and it's obviously making an effort to be as mainstream and accessible as possible, so it doesn't exactly enhance the film's aesthetic). The DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio track is even more problematic, as a few dialogue scenes sound quite muffled. The sound design and music is solid, though. Supplements are limited to a 13-minute interview with the director and a trailer.
I suppose that those willing to overlook the film's complete lack of realistic behavior might be charmed by the playful tone and enthusiastic performances Slightly Single in LA has to offer, but I suspect it'll have a tough time finding an audience. Decent direction and acting under the circumstances, but the story is garbage. Too bad.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated