Hisonni Johnson, Hedy Wong
The truth is that movies are the ultimate form of subjective, artistic expression. Certain movies touch certain people in different ways, vastly varying the universal enjoyment of any given film by the masses. There are however, certain traits any movie can employ to broaden their appeal. Love, loss, a certain challenge, and any host of given solutions. Even still, most films have both the lovers and haters - and a slice in between that think simply, "Meh. It was decent." I can think of so many people that really enjoy the "Star Wars" franchise, as well as a huge swath of people that either hate it or simply think it's alright. It's the way of the world right?
With that said, once in a while a film manages to take their generally universal themes and make something special. Something that is more than its story, more than the cast, crew, or post-production elements. A film that simply put, is more than the sum of its collective parts and fares much better within the crowded film industry. "Take Out Girl" is one such film that for no true reason I can think of, is simply an excellent movie. It doesn't hurt that it looks and sounds great, it also isn't a bad thing that the writing and portrayals are top notch - but it's just so much better than all that, in my opinion. I can't say I've never seen a similar story, or that a lot of the plot elements are common, but it all comes together so well in this film. After reading about the movies lack of a real budget, I only have two words... very impressive.
The almost spoiler-free version goes a little something like this. Tera has finished school and is ready for the promised better life, the one promised to those who have worked and studied hard. Her family runs a Chinese restaurant that although is still pumping out the noodles, is always on the verge of collapsing. Regardless of the never-ending hours put in by Tera's family and especially her mother. Taking on an unexpected delivery at first seems like a huge annoyance to Tera, but opens the door to a way out. A way out of a life that does nothing but keep everyone stationary. She has the opportunity to sell drugs using the restaurant take-out as a front - for a short time until she gets her head above water - and her families. It all seems so easy, especially for a young woman as invisible as Tera - until that is, things get a little out of control. As you may have expected. Hisonni Johnson and Hedy Wong have written a film with the thugs' life in mind but more than that? "Take Out Girl" is about family, plain and simple.
Normally at this point, I would get into the meat of the production itself. Mainly the technical aspects - thoughts and suggestions for future productions. Here however, I am going to skip these particular ramblings. The fact is that "Take Out Girl" presents itself just as good as most large studio productions I've seen, not comparing to special effects-laden blockbusters that is. The acting, from all the main and supporting players was damn near perfect - and the editing and pacing allowed for a very slick and polished, lightning-fast feeling film.
The real meat and potatoes of this film however, is the grit and true to life feeling that "Take Out Girl" spits out at its viewers. Nobody in this film is that perfect hero type, even Tera's mother has a past she would rather keep hidden. It's all very much like real life because quite frankly, how many people do you know that have never made bad decisions? Even that nice little old lady down the hall is hiding something. This film never forgets that, and to compound the real gritty issue even more? The ending of this movie really sucked - not in a production kind of way, rather a powerful and very sad climactic kind of way. Again, I won't spoil it but I really... really wanted things to work out differently and was surprised when they didn't.
At the end of the day "Take Out Girl" is an excellent film with a borderline silly title. Don't presume, much as I did, that this is a soft, touchy kind of film. Or a romantic comedy with dramatic elements. This is a straight-up drama - and a damn good one. The cast and crew of "Take Out Girl" have traversed that huge gap between a four and a four and a half star review, and earned every point.