By Thomas Price, Contributing Writer
Oftentimes looking back at life, we may wonder about our first sexual experience and what kind of experience that was — not only for ourselves, but also for our partners. In Ryan Francis’s film “Do Over,” that idea is explored, to mixed results.
The film centers around a group of friends in Los Angeles who go out to find their first sexual partners and essentially, try for a do-over. It focuses primarily on Sean (Drew Seeley), who seemed to have a far more meaningful relationship with his first, and his attempts to rekindle their romance.
This film, however, falls short of what one would hope to find in a movie like this. Its success relies heavily on the chemistry between the four best friends talking and interacting with each other, and unfortunately that chemistry is wildly inconsistent.
In the opening scene, with characters swapping stories and joking around at the bar, the dialogue feels forced and sometimes jarring. While the acting at times misses the mark, Seeley, Amy Paffrath (who plays Angela) and Zack Lively (who plays Ryan) turn in believable and, in some moments, truly organic performances that helped to make this film far more enjoyable than it might have been otherwise.
What keeps the scene, and ultimately the movie, from succeeding though, are the technical aspects and choices. The cinematography was stuck using tight close-ups which took away from most of the interactions between the cast. It also kept the audience from enjoying what could have been the beautiful background of L.A. The editing was clunky and oftentimes distracting from the scene itself, preventing moments from playing out. The musical score and soundtrack at times helped moments feel intimate and honest but also often felt out of place and forced. More than all this, though, the main detractor from the entire film was the writing.
The actors, through no fault of their own, had to push through awkward and unnatural dialogue that betrayed the relationships that they were trying to convey. However, the film does have a small few moments that were truly entertaining. Within the awkwardness, there are times in which the relationships between the four main characters their supporting actors are thoroughly charming, witty and authentic. The cinematography has a few hidden gems of shots both clever and truly beautiful. Sean’s date with Gina (Gina Giordano), features the couple walking through the famous lamp posts outside of LACMA has the feeling and a look of a truly sweet moment.
The film itself was a fresh and engaging concept that brought to light a new take on the sex comedy genre; however, it simply did not deliver. “Do Over” is an overall likable, yet lackluster movie that will give nothing new to audiences who happen to see it.
This film was released on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016.