Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Incredibly True Adventure Of Two Girls In Love Is Perfection That Doesn't Take Itself Seriously!

The Good: Funny, Romantic, Realistic, Competent acting
The Bad: Predictable plot
The Basics: The best romantic comedy has to offer, The Incredibly True Adventure Of Two Girls In Love is fun and enjoyable. Good luck finding it in stores, though!

It's rare that a romantic comedy holds up over the years. It takes something truly extraordinary to stand up over the years and comedies suffer especially due to the nature of humor - i.e. we laugh far more often at what we don't expect. Romantic comedies suffer even more because we know the plot. The Incredibly True Adventure Of Two Girls In Love is one of only three romantic comedies (the others being When Harry Met Sally. . . and Love Actually, reviewed here!) that I find myself enjoying upon multiple viewings, much less owning.

Randy Dean is your stereotypical high school out and proud lesbian living with her aunt, smoking pot, slacking off and doing other stereotypically diesel dyke things, like getting it on with a local married femme in the gas station bathroom. One day, into her life drives Evie, an affluent young woman who is on the college track, is in the process of distancing herself from her possessive, needy boyfriend and whose neuroses include being convinced her expensive SUV needs repairs. She and Randy begin an unlikely friendship that develops into love and soon the cost of that romance begins to become evident as Evie's friends leave her, Randy's grades slip and everything in both of their worlds comes crashing down.

The strength of this piece is not necessarily that it is about two women as opposed to a heterosexual relationship, but because it is about two youths and it is something special. Rather than insulting young people with inane low expectations and silly assumptions, this film capitalizes on the strengths of young love. So, some of the most enjoyable and exciting scenes of The Incredibly True Adventure Of Two Girls In Love involve Randy and Evie just doing normal things teenagers do. Randy draws comics for Evie, Evie introduces her to opera, the two have a sleepover, and they share poetry and days outdoors.

This movie presents two people, the intelligent, emotionally unsure Evie and the less academic, more Id Randy Dean and explores their explorations of their differences and their needs as they come together. It's one of the few films with voice-overs that are useful and that work. With more backstory than the average romantic comedy, The Incredibly True Adventure Of Two Girls In Love overcomes its low budget with intelligent dialogue, believable acting and highly realistic characters. In fact, the voice-overs that cover the simple, young act of passing notes in lockers and hallway passes becomes one of the distinct treats of this movie. The voice-overs serve to imply a lot of the relationship building that too many movies assume happens between characters that have no genuine chemistry.

But here, the characters have chemistry. Despite the rocky beginnings, Evie and Randy have a great deal of chemistry and it works well for establishing the possibility of a relationship between them. In short, when they begin to actually talk with one another, the chemistry is there, it's not forced and when Randy is able to admit she does not know what words mean and Evie patiently and kindly explains them without judging her, there realistic possibility that the two could make a romance work seems quite evident.

Part of the chemistry comes with the ease with which the leads play their parts. Nicole Parker is brilliant and beautiful as Evie. Parker lends a dignity and articulation that is essential to playing Evie and she has a bearing that makes Evie seem instantly more mature than her years. So, when Evie talks of things like love, she seems like a credible source because actress Nicole Parker seems so comfortable and strong on the subject. It helps Parker that the male foil who her character is dumping slouches through his bit role, making him seem more pathetic and needy than even the lines he presents make him out to be. Parker has great on-screen chemistry with co-star Laurel Holloman.

Holloman plays Randy Dean and she does it amazingly. Holloman is at ease with the controversy of playing a lesbian character, even at her young age in this movie. She seems equally at ease playing off the mature presentation of Nicole Parker and the campy, over-the-top quasi-lesbian Wendy, played with brilliant wackiness by Miss Maggie Moore. Holloman creates a memorable Randy Dean by mumbling her way through the role that makes her seem very young and flustered by genuine love, as opposed to simply sex.

Maria Maggenti does a great job as writer-director of The Incredibly True Adventure Of Two Girls In Love and hearing her commentary on the DVD is insightful. She laments the problems of making a movie on such a low budget and getting it distributed. It's wonderful to hear her thoughts and some of the backstory of making the movie (i.e. for example, it's funny - and refreshing - to hear about how gay-friendly the cast and crew were such that they had a difficult time finding someone to drive by and yell "Dyke!" in one of the scenes where Evie and Randy are first getting to know each other). But more than that, it's wonderful to watch a movie about gays and lesbians where people are simply experiencing the problems (mostly) of young love. No one is getting beaten to death, no one is threatened constantly and that's nice. At some point, this movie will be passe and a novelty. Until then, it's artistically valuable and eminently rewatchable.

That's not to say the film is without rough edges. While the movie easily overcomes its obvious low budget with class and quality, what is less negotiable is that the lesbian aspects are built on stereotypes. You don't get much more femme than Evie and the pot-smoking, guitar playing Randy is pretty much the archetype of dyke. The disadvantage of being the first, best "lesbian" film is that it is built on what people expect to see in the characters.

Don't let that detract you from seeing it; it's a fun movie and it is the ultimate in romantic comedy. It's perfection and it doesn't take itself too seriously. It's a nice change from the ordinary.

For other works starring Laurel Holloman, check out my review of:
Angel - Season 3
Boogie Nights


For other film reviews, be sure to check out my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012, 2009, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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