NBFF 2016 Review: After The Reality

12957470_1111751962215593_4714805152280256639_oThis year After the Reality opened the 17th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival. Since Jewtopia served as the opening night feature a few years back, I have been doing my best to manage my excitement level for these premieres, but the film was certainly no dud. While a bit familiar, the comedy-drama took on some subject matter in an interestingly enough way to hold onto my attention and make good use of its key performers.



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The story revolves around a brother and sister dealing with the sudden death of their father. Sarah Chalke star as a Kate, the sibling who stayed behind to care for her father when he became ill. Once having passed, her boyfriend Fitz (comedian Jon Dore providing some solid, low-key work) comes to help move out the things from the family cabin.

Meanwhile, Matthew Morrison plays Scottie, the brash younger brother who was busy as a contestant on a Bachelorette-style reality show, when learning of this news. He is then forced to leave the show prematurely, which leads to more drama, once meeting with his estranged sister.

A key aspect of the film is how it crosses the narrative back and forth with present-day scenes involving Kate and Scottie and slices of episodes from the reality show, Young Bucks. Writer/director David Anderson seems to at least have a passing familiarity with similar reality shows, as those sequences typify what you expect to see. The other scenes feel a bit more standard, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but they solely rely on the strength of the actors and the writing.


It is not that the gimmick of featuring fake reality show footage means only those scenes are engaging, but the present day material does essentially lean on being melodrama, which could be something the film was going for by juxtaposing this material with a reality show and trying to work off of that. If that was the case though, it’s not nearly apparent enough. If it wasn’t, then as much as the actors work to put in good work, the material is only so-so.

Getting back to the reality show scenes, you do have some fun work from actors who are in on the joke of what it means to be on these shows, without making it overly broad or too much like a parody. Juan Pablo Di Pace, Isaiah Mustafa and Tony Cavalero all work well at playing these suitor characters, with Laura Bell Bundy working hard to portray the desperate-for-love bachelorette who apparently needed a TV show to solve her romantic problems. The writing for these scenes works well, as it comes with a level of understanding that pokes fun at the concept.


Given how well thought out the reality show stuff is, it is a shame the other half of this film is ultimately underwhelming. Morrison and Chalke work well together, but the film has trouble gathering up enough in the way of tension to really build to a climax that resonates. Of course, this is a low-key movie that doesn’t necessarily require a real ‘wow’ factor.

After the Reality gets points for nailing the reality show dynamic and making good use of its actors. There isn’t much else too it, but it does enough to make the time it occupies not feel like a waste. I can’t say the same about the actual reality shows it calls to mind though.


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and be sure to check back to Why So Blu throughout the week
for more of my coverage of the festival!

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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