AFF Review- 6 Month Rule

Jim here,

A quick welcome to anyone new to the site. If you got a card at AFF you got it from me. Thanks for not just throwing it away. Hope you enjoy my stream of consciousness reviewing.

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For this years AFF I am doing things a bit differently. Instead of doing everything the day of I have decided to spread it out a little bit and write about the movies and the panels whenever I feel like writing about them.

That is the beauty of running the site, I can do that. So... without further

6 Month Rule

w/d Blayne Weaver

Starring: Blayne Weaver, Martin Starr, Natalie Morales, Dave Foley, John Michael Higgins

I am going to be honest with you here. I was a little leery going into this film. Sure, it looked interesting, but I have reservations any time I see something that could be termed a romantic comedy. While the description I read didn’t scream rom-com, there was a definite whisper in what I read.

But, after reading the comments from the show’s technical savior Matt (formerly “My Jewish Friend Matt,” who has fully earned his new title after resurrecting our Kubrick show) I decided it would be a film worth seeing.

…and I was right.

“6Month Rule,” is the story of Tyler, a talented photographer who has sold out for easy money. Tyler is the kind of guy who thinks he has the cheat code for life. He has a set of rules for how to maneuver without any hindrance to his freedom and independence. He believes that there is no woman out there that a man cannot completely get over within six months, and why would he want a long term relationship when he could be free and clear and experiencing the exciting newness of a conquest in half a year.

Then he meets Sophie and she complicates things. Now, at this point you’re asking, “How is this not a romantic comedy?” Well, first off, throw out any and all notions of “romantic comedy.” Yes, there are some hallmarks here, but they are handled in such a fresh, real, and original way as to completely remove the label. This is a film about detachment, friendship, love, the pursuit of happiness, and mostly fear and how that fear can cause us to miss the happiness.

Tyler isn’t some hard-core player who can score any chick any time. He is a confident guy who does well with women. He is a man at that odd age where he is no longer a college student in a world of disposable relationships, but is not quite a settle down and get married guy. He is a younger version of Hugh Grant in “About a Boy,” but with a slightly less predatory sensibility.

This choice, this not making him the guy who can get any girl, is what makes this movie work. If nothing else Tyler is relatable. Everyone has a friend like this and if you don’t, it’s because you are/were like this. He has an easier time with women than most, and all he wants is to not be tied down. Had he been played the other way, he would have been irredeemable from the beginning and the movie would have died on the starting block.

He is not a completely likeable character; in fact there are times when you are completely justified in wanting to smack him. But he is not malicious about it. His longest romantic relationship, a brilliant storyline involving Vanessa Branch (who is amazing), shows that he is just a fairly self centered guy who cannot appreciate what is happening in front of him.

What I found most refreshing about this film is that Weaver, your writer/director/star/ didn’t write one good part for himself and then populate the rest of the movie with people who make him shine by comparison. Every character is well thought out, well written, well acted, and, most importantly, has a definite purpose in the world of the film.

I am going to start with what I loved most about this movie. Sophie, played brilliantly by Natalie Morales (White Collar, Parks and Rec [editorial note: Tom Haverford should be kicked in the stomach until he vomits blood for messing up his relationship with her), is an actual well written female character! Anyone who listens to the show knows that I fucking hate how most female characters are written. They are either a manic pixie dream girl, a shrieking harpy, or some vapid pretty face that our hero wants simply because she is hot. First off, yes Natalie is hot, but she also looks like an actual, real woman. You know the kind I’m talking about, you’ve fallen in love with one at some point in your life and were too scared to talk to her or you did and ended up being her good friend. She has an approachable beauty that makes her even more unapproachable, if that makes any sense.

Now, if she were just hot that would be one thing, but she is also a very down to earth, fun, funny, and interesting person. She isn’t quirky (Film Thugs Translation: annoying), or aloof (Film Thugs Translation: narcissistic). She’s real. You believe Tyler would fall in love with her because you kind of fall in love with her. The best part, she is just as flawed as Tyler, only in a different way. She isn't some idealized version of the perfect woman. Her flaws just happen to make her perfect for him.

Speaking of love, I must pull an aside here and say that this film features what may be the best “falling in love” sequence I’ve ever seen. It’s a single location montage that covers a few days and it is probably the most relateable scene of it’s type I’ve ever watched. Who hasn’t had this happen? You meet, you go out, you hit it off, you have one night that bleeds into the next day which bleeds into the next night and morning and you find yourself hooked. It is the best part of any relationship and is conveyed with such conviction that it moves you through the rest of the film. It is so powerful that when we reach the inevitable heartbreak (I’m not spoiling anything, you know it’s coming, but not due to predictability of story, but because it is the only place these characters can end up) it is all the more devastating.

The love story is fantastic, but it is by no means the central point of the film. For that we go to the friendship.

Martin Starr is Alan, Tyler’s best friend, is just out of a three-year engagement and is struggling to move on. Tyler is determined to help him learn the value of his six month rule. However, Alan sees how dysfunctional this is and resists. He is the voice of morality. He wants connection and stability and cannot understand why Tyler is so set against it. Even though Tyler is determined to help Alan you know that the teacher/student roles should be reversed.

Add in Dave Foley giving one of his best, if not his absolute best, performances, and John Michael Higgins killing like he always does,as well as Patrick J. Adams (who is a bad ass on "Suits") in an absolute scene stealing performance and honestly, how could you resist?

“6 Month Rule” is a refreshing look at a familiar genre. Like “Swingers” it focuses on the relationships that really matter in life and shows how difficult moving on and growing up can be. It’s about the need to connect and the need some people have to sabotage themselves out of fear of what both failure and success could mean.



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