An aging, washed-up comedian still scratching for gigs is confronted with
the pressing financial needs of his autistic son.
Written By: Oktay Ortabasi,
Directed By: Oktay Ortabasi,
Although labelled a drama, in many ways "Too Hip For The Room" also falls into the horror category. When I think how much reality is crammed into such a short film it makes me shiver. Where will I be in another 30 years? How many decisions in my life have I made based on ego, that were completely the wrong ones? Hell, where do I stand right now as opposed to 15 years ago? Writers Oktay Ortabasi and Kelly Monteith disguise this film as the drama of a washed up comedian; in reality it's the story of life itself and what's it's like to be a human being. Anger, frustration, love and finally... redemption. The things we do solely for ourselves, and the resentment we feel when we make the wrong choice, and refuse to believe we did it. At it's heart, that's what "Too Hip For The Room" offers up as entertainment, and in doing so creates a damn fine film.
Hitting up the technical aspects of this movie are a little daunting because I liked the flick so much. I can write that the first five minutes or so completely unimpressed me. Just being honest here. This film uses a lot of hand-held styled lensing which to me, generally screams independent. I'm on of those that miss the old style of making films. Planned, smooth locked off shots with maybe a hint of motion or zooming. That's what I like. This new fad of everything looking hand-held really takes away the magic of a movie. Even when done well, I always find myself asking why. Is it to make use of more locations? As an indie film, grabbing places to shoot can, and does require a small and tight crew. Whatever the case however, I was expecting the worst from the start. Then, rather quickly I started thinking how strange it was that the audio was so well done and the character portrayals seemed... so genuine. Then back to the shaky camera my mind returned. Hmmm. What seems to be happening here? Long story short is that I got used to the shuffling cinematography, hardly noticing it anymore. I write hardly because during some of the more standardized segments, I immediately noticed the "shake" return. At some point however, my dis-like of the camera choices didn't make the film any less enjoyable. I was already hooked.
Touching on the acting itself will be easy and quick. Excellent! Kelly Monteith owns the screen in his respective role, followed up by a stellar group of supporting cast. Totally believable and completely sincere, that was to be expected. After all, he was the lead in the film. What really get's me is how well everyone else fares alongside. It's not every day I get treated to an indie production where the entire cast comes across as true and believable. Even if this film were total crap, (it's not) the cast would probably carry it through to a passing mark. Excellent job all around, I was quite impressed.
Wrapping up the movie with a nice green bow-tie is the post production work. I really think the clean, by the books edit countered the shaky-cam style I dislike so much. Throw in an even color grade, and as I wrote above some great audio work, leaving you with one hell of a polished film. This is one that although gave me doubts at the start, ended up finishing with flying colors.
"Too Hip For The Room" is one of those odd-ball films that really has you expecting things to be one way, and ends up another all together. Although it uses a struggling, aging comic as a kick-off point, the film itself is about all things in life that are not funny. The use of comedy without much actual comedy was a brilliant idea and it panned out perfectly. In the end however, my rating reflected not the technical elements or even the great acting chops of the cast. It was based on one simple element alone. How entertaining the film was. At the end of the day, that's all that really matters. I've seen movies with amazing acting and brilliant production work... that I simply didn't like. In the case of "Too Hip For The Room" I was mesmerized for the duration. Whatever this film lacks (not much by the way) it counters with that special "something" that makes a good movie a good movie. The goal of any entertainment is to entertain and this is a title I highly recommend.
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