NBFF Review: Supporting Characters

Tuesday night, May 1, 2012, at the Newport Beach Film Festival proved to be a pretty entertaining one.  I managed to see a couple films, which were both very enjoyable.  The first was Supporting Characters, a film about two young film editors in New York, who are in the middle of working on a film project that has lasted for months, while also sorting out their romantic relationships.  Despite being set in modern times, the tone and handling of the characters and various scenes of dialogue definitely calls back to 70s Woody Allen, regardless of how successful it is in truly matching up.  The film may be a little too loose and all over the place as a whole, but there was a charming quality to all that was occurring and I enjoyed the core friendship in this story.  It is too well scripted to be described as breezy, but it certainly fits the type of being a film that gets by with ease.

Alex Karpovsky and Tarik Lowe star as Nick and Darryl, two friends who work on movies together as editors.  The project they are currently working on is a romantic comedy, which has been taking an extended amount of time to cut down to a reasonable length, while pleasing the various producers and filmmakers involved.  This has not been the best experience for the director, Adrian (Kevin Corrigan), and it has also annoyed Darryl, as he doesn’t like seeing certain characters get cut out.  Nick has been having a slightly better time in this process, as it has allowed him to meet the female star of the film.  Popular actress named Jamie Kirkland (Arielle Kebbel), spends plenty of time in Nick’s company, which she seems to be enjoying quite a bit.

I should mention that Nick is also currently engaged to Amy (Sophia Takal), who is currently living with him and getting ready to kick wedding plans into gear (after the discussion of possible prenup arrangements, of course).  Meanwhile, Darryl is having relationship issues of his own, as his girlfriend, Liana (Melonie Diaz), claims to love him, despite the fact that the two of them constantly argue.  The rest of the film revolves around Nick and Darryl working on the movie together, as well as working on their relationships and giving each other playful grief along the way.

Supporting Characters is a very low key film overall and that is a lot of the reason as to why I enjoyed it.  There is not a lot of time spent of making this film seem particularly flashy in any way and the characters do not really speak in dialogue that suggests they are overly knowledgeable or hip.  The film simply follows around these two main guys during a stressful (and fairly humorous) time in their lives and it has an all-around authentic feel, with maybe a slight edge, given the scripted nature of the dialogue.  It is not a film about large narrative turns, but a simple human comedy that provides a lot of space for the actors to cleverly and effectively bounce off of one another.

Karpovsky and Lowe have fun chemistry together, conveying a friendship that seems very natural.  I particularly liked the interplay they had together when it came to scenes that involved them at work in the editing room.  The various relationships in the film were also interesting to watch.  It could be easy to write off Liana as irritating, but I liked the way it made Lowe’s character have to work to try and keep the peace between them.  I also enjoyed a lot of the laid back charm in Nick and Amy’s relationship and even with him and Jamie, despite how easy it was for Nick to seemingly convince a “hot” actress to desire him so much.  Kevin Corrigan also provides fun support in his small role.

Tarik Lowe was also the co-writer of this film, along with his friend and director Daniel Schector.  The two apparently made this film, using a lot of their own personal experiences in the process to develop the story.  Shot for around $50,000, the film works at being a somewhat offbeat, slice of life-type film, which is semi-autobiographical, but not really overdone in any noticeable way.  The use of New York as a location grounds the film in a certain reality, but the photography is never too flashy to really emphasize where these characters are, rather than what they are getting done in the film.

The only real problem I found with this film was the way it basically stumbles through the notion of having a plot to wrap itself up in.  The film is not necessarily aimless, but it more or less follows a specific period of time and details the main events that occur.  By the time it gets around to sculpting a supposed narrative for the film as a whole, it brings in a couple elements that are established a bit too late, without giving the audience a good chance to take it in.  It is a minor gripe however, as I was happy to go along with these characters throughout the film, based mainly around the appropriate chemistry I found them to have.

Supporting Characters works well with what it has.  There is a good cast here, made up of talented young actors, who bring a nice liveliness to how the script and dialogue has been assembled.  The film thankfully does not revel in hipster New York culture either, instead playing out as a film with grounded characters, dealing with adult issues in a serious, but still humorous sort of way.  It is an entertaining film that works as a solid indie comedy/drama.

Click on the poster to visit the Newport Beach Film Festival website, and be sure to check back to Why So Blu throughout the week for more of my coverage of the festival!

Here’s the trailer for Supporting Characters:


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