By Shawn McKenzie 05/16/2003
I donít know what ingredient new filmmakers need in order to make a successful first film, but after seeing XX/XY, I do know a few they donít need.
Roommates Sam (Maya Stange) and Thea (Kathleen Robertson) are friends who meet a film student from Sarah Lawrence College named Coles (Mark Ruffalo) at a college party one night in 1993. They all have an almost-threesome, with Coles apparently more drawn to Sam. Sam and Coles start to date, but Coles cheats on her, and they break up. Thea is also screwy with her dating habits. She sleeps with her platonic guy friend Sid (Kel OíNeill) and then dumps him immediately. All of this dating recklessness results in the trio losing contact with each other. Ten years later, the three former friends are all much different than they were in their old college days. Coles was an unsuccessful filmmaker and now works as an animator for a high-profile ad agency. He lives with his girlfriend of five years, Claire (Petra Wright.) Sam was living and working in London, but after breaking off her engagement, she has moved back to Manhattan. The most screwed up of the three, Thea, ironically is the happiest one. She is in a good marriage to Miles (David Thornton), with whom she owns a successful restaurant. One day Coles and Sam run into each other, and are suddenly in each otherís lives again. Coles now has to decide if he is truly over Sam, and if he wants to risk losing Claire to find out. During a weekend trip to the Hamptonís, all the old feelings resurface, and choices are made.
The writer/director of this movie, Austin Chick, starts out the movie with a couple of things that I always hate about new filmmakers. When Coles and Sam first meet, they keep making annoying jump edits. Fortunately, this doesnít continue throughout the film. Chick attempts to insert witty sexual dialogue, but it just doesnít seem to work here.
I did like the performances of Ruffalo and Robertson. Ruffalo had a more memorable character in You Can Count on Me, but he does all right with the material he was given here. Robertson is an actress Iím more familiar with in the TV world. She played the screwed-up character Clare Arnold for three seasons on ďBeverly Hills, 90210,Ē so her Thea character is essentially the big screen version of that character (at least in the first half.) Everyone else in the movie is okay, but not exactly impressive.
You would think that a movie with a threesome in the beginning would be an interesting movie, but XX/XY proves otherwise. Chickís attempt at a relationship drama doesnít really pick up until the second half, but by that time, you donít even care anymore. Even the end doesnít really give you a sense of resolution. I hope that everyone involved with this movie will have better luck in their next efforts.
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