“The entire universe is a symphony.”
Swift shot: Another quirky little flight-of-fancy from Writer/Director Valerie Breiman, stacked with some life-lessons and philosophical questions on faith, love and all that lies in between. I wasn’t laughing the whole flight, but there were certainly enough carefully crafted scenes that earned a chuckle or two and one scene, although I saw it coming from a mile, was still pretty dog-gone hilarious!
Our lead characters are both neurotic to the extreme; successful in their careers but incredibly insecure about love. Jenny (Rachel Blanchard) is a copywriter whose latest claim to fame is a little jingle for a vegan kitty chow company. Opposite Jenny is Tom (James D’Arcy) who is a highly-intelligent string-theory physicist professor that travels around giving lectures. The two meet while grabbing the same self-help book at an LAX book store. It’s always interesting to me that Breiman’s characters never struggle with other aspects of their lives but are always utter failures at love.
Tom is sitting in first-class when a, supposedly, super-famous rapper, TMJ (Gbenga Akinnagbe) reluctantly sits next to him . . . with a small white puppy in his lap in a carrier-cage. See, it’s Valentine’s Day, and TMJ’s girl in New York is forcing him to fly commercial to reconnect with her and to join the real people. Thing is, first-class is too good for her, TMJ needs to really slum and sit with the losers in coach. As luck would have it, and because Jenny caught his eye, Tom offers that TMJ should trade seats with Jenny. Of course, it wouldn’t be a comedy if Jenny weren’t sitting next to two very non-stereotypical Muslim men . . . who were randomly selected for enhanced pat-downs prior to boarding the plane.
Amir (Maz Jobrani) and Mohammed (Mousa Kraish) were such dastardly types they were playing Go-Fish when we first see them. I must confess, I think that is the first time I have seen Go-Fish in a movie with an R-rating, so that alone deserves cool points, plus Breiman managed to show a game of Asteroids and used that device to abruptly shift the tone of the story. I call that effective writing that closely mirrors reality – which is another thing I love about Breiman scripts.
While all the tom-foolery is happening in the cabin, some pretty serious shit is going down in the cockpit. The atheist pilot, Captain Brody (Anthony LaPaglia) is forced to endure an Overnight flight with an incredibly naive, yet theologically zealous co-pilot, Derek. Josh Braaten proved the old adage, there are no small parts, only small actors, as he really stole his scenes as the super good-natured co-pilot. And while his character didn’t have much dialog, he used what he was given with professional aplomb. For some reason, he was the character who, when the film ended, I wanted to know the most about.
Using the time-frame of one Overnight flight from LAX to JFK, Breiman covers the love-life arc of a full-length relationship between Tom and Jenny. As they learn about one another, we learn a little about ourselves, our misconceptions and expectations. But, overall we learn what love is and how it is defined at 33,000 feet. You won’t know what I mean unless you get yourself a seat on-board and check this little rom-com out. It is releasing April 20, 2012 in select theaters in South Florida, Seattle, and Kansas.