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THAT’S NOT US (#insideout25 review)

hr_torontoTHAT’S NOT US

Directed by William C. Sullivan / Starring David Rysdahl, Mark Berger and Sarah Wharton

When I reached the halfway point in THAT’S NOT US, a wholly improvised dramedy about three couples – one gay, one lesbian and one straight – who spend a weekend together at a cottage in Fire Island, I realized that the only things I had learned about these people was that the lesbians have not had sex in months, the gays have a healthy sexual appetite but are concerned about their future and the straight couple have the healthiest sex drive of all but the male can’t ride a bicycle (and, no, that’s not a euphemism for anything). All I could do was forge onwards with hopes that my yawns would not drown out anything interesting that may eventually spice up this snoozefest.

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Improvisational movies are extremely difficult to pull off successfully. Most of them feel like the actors are just trying to outdo each other in every scene. THAT’S NOT US comes across like a 90-minute demo reel that eventually each actor will edit for their own purposes to highlight their dramatic and comedic skills and include in their video resume. The cast of six unknowns hit their marks effectively but there is nothing of substance to hear or see here. There is enough raw talent from all of them that I would make a point of seeing them in another movie … that has a script. I felt like I was trapped and forced to eavesdrop on conversations that had no relevance to anything. For crying out loud, there was a five minute discourse on trying to find an aspirin.

THAT’S NOT US is ambitious and wears its heart on it sleeve but ultimately it needs a director who knows when to end a scene and actors with a more interesting story to tell.

2 sheep

THAT’S NOT US screens at the 25th edition of Inside Out, Toronto’s LGBT Film Festival on Saturday, May 23, at 9:45 PM, at TIFF Bell Lightbox. For more information and for tickets, please visit insideout.ca.

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One Comment

  1. Agreed with the reviewer. Also the dialogue was plagued with poor or sloppy diction, making it difficult to understand what they were saying a good deal of the time. Whatever happened to thespian voice training? They’re not just playing to one another’s character; they’re also playing to the viewer.

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