There is an alarming trend in films recently; the lack of comedies with characters hanging out and getting into trouble. From "Smokey and the Bandit" to "Road Trip" the concept of driving around and getting into mischief has been an American film motif for decades and has always been one of my favorite comedy sub-genres. The great thing about "road comedies" is that it also offers a young director or writer the chance to showcase interesting characters and integrate witty dialogue into a film that can be filmed on a modest budget. I mean, most of our best ideas and conversations happen in a car as well. With "Wild Girl Waltz" a full length indie film from writer-director Mark Lewis, Lewis is able to emulate a beloved genre with funny and thoughtful performances that anyone can relate to.
"Waltz" is a simple tale about friends and drugs. When Angie and Tara take some "goofy pills" to escape for the day, it's up to Brian, Tara's boyfriend, to babysit the two while they both come off of their high. Along the way Angie, Brian, and Tara find a turtle, roll down some hills, remember the good old days, and genuinely enjoy each others company. It's a simple story that we can all relate at one time of another during our youth.
A few things stood out to me in "Waltz." The character of Angie played by Christina Shipp, is a highlight of the film. She has great screen presence, nails all of her dialogue, and has great comedic timing. Her chemistry with Tara, played by Samantha Steinmetz, is also a lot of fun. You genuinely feel like they have known each other for years, and they play off of each other well. Brian, played by Jared Stern, is forced to played the straight man most of the film, but he's still able to come up with a few comic gems.
While "Waltz" is played mainly for laughs, there are still undercurrents of drama here and there, mainly with the part of Brian. During the course of the film we discover that Brian can be a bit of a pushover, with both his friends and his girlfriend Tara. While he tries to play the tough guy a few times, he ends up backing down. During the course of the day we see layers of Brian unravel as he goes from bitter to accepting, to loving come the end of the film. If Angie is the heart, Brian is the soul of "Waltz."
The one gripe I might have with "Waltz" are the long montage shots of Angie, Brian, and Tara. I know it fits well within the film, but they slow down the pace where you want more dialogue or hijinks from the girls. I wanted to see what they were going to do next and not have to sit through a scene with music playing and the characters walking through a forest. For me it added nothing to the film but extra minutes to the run time, which still clocks in at a tidy 85 minutes.
Overall, "Wild Girl Waltz" is a lot of fun, with spirited performances from the three leads who all have their moments to shine during the film. It's a simple idea that you can take for what it is, a fun road film, or you can look at it from a deeper perspective that deals with relationships, growing up, or dealing a mundane existence in a small town.
If you want more information on "Wild Girl Waltz," check out their site HERE. I'd like to thank Mark Lewis for reaching out to Simplistic Reviews and giving us a chance to review his film as well.