Nobody Can Cool
August 20th, 2013
Catherine Annette as Susan
Nick Principe as Len
Nikki Bohm as Gigi
David Atlas as David
When an independent film hits the mailbox, I get a little giddy with anticipation. I also experience a strange sense of apprehension, simultaneously. Every now and then a micro-film hits the market that turns heads and proves profoundly rewarding (look into the genuinely riveting shoe-stringer, The Battery), but these no-finance affairs tend to disappointment far more than satisfy. It takes a special breed of filmmaker to hit a homerun with next to zero resources or dollar signs. Those filmmakers are the ones we end up talking about in the future. The rest fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, Dpyx may just find themselves lost to obscurity somewhere down the road. I’m just not entirely convinced they’ve got the goods to bring consistent, quality horror to hungry fans across the map. But at this point, I could be way off base; there’s no telling what tomorrow holds in store.
See, here’s the thing about Nobody Can Cool, the story really isn’t a story, at all. What it is, is one ugly scenario, drawn out about 30 minutes longer than necessary. Susan and David are a couple at odds, oddly enough on what seems to be some sort of weekend getaway (what they needed was a lengthy hiatus from one another, but that’s a topic tackled in the movie). David’s an eager young businessman and Susan’s a sassy bitch with a chip on her shoulder massive enough to compress her spine with one wrong motion. Again, why these two are vacationing together feels totally off, but the attempt at explaining it all away does eventually see arrival. And speaking of arrivals, these two finally reach their destination after a tense journey, but the should-be empty vacation home isn’t empty. Len and Gigi, a couple every bit as odd as Susan and David, though for completely different reasons, are already there at the cabin, bumping uglies. As Susan and David quickly discover, these two are at the cabin for reasons nefarious, and their lives are now unexpectedly on the line. So much for that refreshing weekend retreat.
Again, I note that this isn’t a fleshed out story in the slightest. It’s just a setup, and a slow walk through. There is no resolution either; the entire film is conflict, which leaves little time to explore personalities or any other relevant element of the tale. The story just starts in third gear, and stays right there for nearly 90 full minutes. In truth it doesn’t have anywhere to really go. We get this constant allusion to some awesome subplot centered on Len and Gigi, but that doesn’t pan out any more than Susan and David’s own plight. There’s nowhere to go but down for the entire lot of individuals, but in all honesty, you’re not likely to care one bit anyway, as these characters feel like little more than utter caricatures.
The protagonists aren’t the kind of good guys you cheer for. The villains spark neither resentment nor sympathy (which could have been a cool twist, and was perfectly aligned given Gigi’s pregnancy). There are extremely few bit players, and when they are introduced they add nothing but irrationality to the story. By the conclusion of the film, as a viewer I couldn’t see our good guys as anything other than annoying, and our villains as anything beyond petty criminals. In fact, I didn’t really care to think of any one single character ever again once the credits hit the screen. They’re all transparent, standard clichés, and the performers in tow (sans Nick Principe who brings some much needed brash charm to the production) don’t do too much to change that. Whether the blame belongs on their shoulders or the shoulders of the filmmakers is somewhat irrelevant, because the only emotion you’re bound to feel for anyone not named Len is disdain, no matter how you slice it. These are miserable characters, complete and totally unlikable on all fronts. And that, in addition to the lack of narrative depth, is what sinks this ship. It’s really, really hard to like a movie when you can’t find a way to like any of the characters. When the story is mediocre as all hell as well, there’s very little that can be done to salvage things.
Despite an abundance of flaws, I will say this: there’s big effort behind this production (it just doesn’t exactly pay off). These ladies may have gotten it quite wrong with the story as a whole, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t at least attempt to give us something meaty to chew on. I think the same could be said for the bulk of the cast. The misfires are copious, but the drive to manufacture awesomeness is alive and well. And that’s the only reason I can’t leap to label these young filmmakers (or performers) guaranteed failures. When you care this much about cinema, there’s hope – whether you’ve had a hand in a dud or so, or not. I’ve got my fingers crossed, hoping these gals can make significant strides with their next project, because I think they may just have an Ace to flash, it’s just stuck in the folds of the sleeves at this point.