Reggiemolo (Alex Lee-King) is headed out west to meet his biological mother for the first time. Now stranded - after plans to catch a ride with his girlfriend have fallen through, Reggie begins "thumbing it" towards LA along a desert highway when he catches a ride with Margot (Anna Greene).
Later that evening, the two stop at a diner where Reggie discovers that he's been mistaken for the dangerous criminal gang member Clyde Abrams - who is actively being sought out by the FBI in a nationwide manhunt. Having fallen for his charm along the road, Margot decides to help Reggie evade capture - because, after all, "doesn't a girl deserves a little adventure?" The two navigate their way through various deceptions and close calls but are ultimately drawn deeper into a web of crime that could end up getting them both killed.
"Play it Cool" from writer/director Tommy Anderson is a familiar stab at young love on the road towards the unknown in the crime/romance genre. Riffing heavily off the style of early Tarantino and Rodriquez movies and films that fall under the same category. The film, unfortunately, breaks down quickly with a script that feels very flat and underdeveloped. Some excellent editing choices, sound design, and off-screen action effectively enhance the scope of the chase with a solid soundtrack to keep the action moving along. However, I must say I was never really engaged in Reggie's story. The performances, though energetic, feels very scripted, never "really" demanding my attention at any point.
With all that said, there is a heartbeat beneath the surface of the film throughout, and it's clear that a lot of love was put into the making of it. Anna Greene turns out a strong performance which, beyond the writing, is able to convey a lot of feeling through various looks and gestures alone. It's great to see young filmmakers playing with these types of genres which were etched in stone by some truly great filmmakers. I just wish as much attention went into character development as it did to the slow-motion, cute postcard sequences of people pretending to be in love. I need chemistry I can roll with, and this one didn't feel earned.
"Play it Cool" plays it safe and ultimately majors in style over substance. It's an easy watch that may find success with a younger audience, but I needed more. There is talent behind the work here, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves through future projects. Great effort, and I look forward to the next one.