At First Glance: “The One I Love”

If a film’s trailer is going to tout that it’s one particular type of film, it best deliver that. A trailer isn’t very long, and there’s not much time to convince me of anything, so what does one do when you feel let down?

The upcoming Radius-TWC film “The One I Love”, is incredibly intriguing, given it’s mysterious plot, other than that of a struggling marriage in need of saving.

This romantic comedy (yes, I wrote that) stars Mark Duplass (“Tammy”, “The Mindy Project”), Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”, “Top of the Lake”), and Ted Danson (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, “Big Miracle”).

The film is directed by Charlie McDowell (“Bye Bye Benjamin (Short 2006)”), and written by Justin Lader (“Cowboys and Indiants (Short 2007)”, “Errand Boys (Short 2004)”).

The film had premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 21, 2014. It is slated for a theatrical release on Aug. 22.

It’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, or at least a comedy with romance. The only reason I really found out about this was on some article about how this film was doing something special for the romantic comedy genre, especially since it was primarily a dead genre, or, at the very least, no longer a good genre. The piece basically stated that many films, when it comes to the romantic comedy, aren’t well made like in the past.

Well, I was intrigued to start reading it, and then skim the rest, before getting bored. Which brings us here. The trailer for a film that does a whole lot more for the mystery than the comedy or romance.

The romance, it could be argued, is sort of missing, as this is a film about a troubled marriage. Okay, fine, I’ll give you that. But what about the comedy? Some lines of dialogue given were humorous. I’m sure it’s aiming to be a clever comedy, and not just something that relies on stupid, overused gags. Perhaps the romance is going to unfold over the course of the film.

What really sells me is this mysterious element, which is clear, and enforced by all the string instruments used through out the trailer. It seems like this is supposed to be some kind of quirky, trippy story. Not necessarily rooted in any kind of reality. If it can work for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, why not here? Just a guess.

I’m sold on the two leads. From the trailer itself, they already look like they have a good amount of chemistry, even if it’s played out through a strained relationship. Duplass has done loads of comedy, and I’ve enjoyed some of his previous work. Moss has primarily been doing a lot of drama’s the last few years, some heavier than others, of which I can only assume about “Mad Men”, as I have yet to move past episode four, in season one. I feel, as I’ve seen a lot she’s done as well, that she doesn’t do all that much comedy, in any form, or it’s just been awhile. And because of this, she’ll get the chance to show that she can go beyond just something dramatic.

Fortunately, as this is more of an indie film, I’m interested enough. Will I come away loving it? Too early to tell. But at least there’s hope for something good. That’s also half the fun of small films like this, you never know what the final product will be, and in watching the film, you could end up discovering this little gem of a movie.

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