Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mutual Friends (SIFF 2013) - Movie Review

Mutual Friends is a movie set in Manhattan and revolves around a group of friends over the course of a day as they prepare for an ill fated surprise party. Put together by a team of writers and directed by Matthew Watts, this unique romantic comedy stars Caitlin Fitzgerald, Cheyenne Jackson, Peter Scanavino, and Michael Chernus.

This story begins with Liv (Fitzgerald) beginning preparations for her fiance Christoph's (Jackson) surprise birthday party. As she runs around town trying to piece everything together, we meet more and more of their friends all of whom are either invited to the party or will probably end up there anyway. Among this group of friends and acquaintances, there are varying degrees of controversy, failed relationships, and of course, all of it comes to a head at the party. From cheating spouses and awkward ex-boyfriends to overzealous bartenders and pregnancy revelations, this is sure to be a day to remember for everyone involved.

One thing I really liked about this movie is the diversity of characters and how all their stories are somehow woven together to create one overall narrative. Liz is clearly the focal point of the story and Caitlin Fitzgerald does a fine job taking center stage among the ensemble cast. Having a different writer for each individual story line could have been a disaster, but it is actually used to great effect in bringing all the distinct personalities together for an appropriately dysfunctional climax.

Sure, there are flaws in the story and the supporting cast leaves a lot to be desired, but the principle characters are all very well thought out and the actors do a fine job with what they are given. Director Matthew Watts also deserves a ton of credit for taking on something like this for a debut feature film effort. Mutual Friends won't blow you away, but as romantic comedies go, its actually very entertaining.


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