Fling (review)

Give It a Fling

Poor Brandon Routh. He caught the Superman curse. He played the Man of Steel in a big Hollywood thing and now… this was the best thing he got offered after that. A little would-be romantic, would-be sexy sex dramedy about annoying 20somethings that was shot in Kansas City and went almost straight to DVD.
Okay, that’s mean. And I don’t mean to be mean. Because Fling — it was called Lie to Me when it did the festival circuit and got a very limited release last fall, it’s now available on DVD in Region 1 — has a few small things to recommend it. It looks great, in a stylish way that’s way more expensive than its clearly limited budget should have allowed. And it’s really fascinating, from a production-geek perspective, hearing director and cowriter John Stewart Muller and cowriter Laura Boersma talk on their commentary track about why they chose film over video for their theatrical debut (like how it’s easier to fake being artistic with film when technical accidents happen) and why they ended up shooting in Kansas City (which does look really nice, actually, on film) and how they got the cast to feel so spontaneous in their lovemaking scenes… I really like Muller and Boersma, and I’d love to hang out with them and shoot the shit about movies.

But their movie, itself… eh. I don’t want to have to stretch to the DVD extras for redeeming qualities, and I think it’s a bit much to expect me to do so. Fling is one of those tales of self-absorbed young adults that makes you want to smack them all and tell them to just get over themselves already. I mean, it’s not that we all don’t have our issues and our traumas with love and romance and sex and relationships, but… get a dog or something. And I mean, too, that maybe these characters aren’t as self-absorbed as the movie makes it seem… but the movie makes it seem like they are. Why can’t they all have their romantic angst in the middle of saving the world from Nazi aliens or racing around the globe in the 1920s to find hidden treasure or while solving the mystery of the world’s greatest serial killer or something? At least that’d be more interesting.

So we have Mason (Steve Sandvoss), a pleasant twit who writes self-absorbed pseudoromantic literary novels that teenage girls who think they’re deep swoon over, and his girlfriend, wannabe fashion designer Sam (Courtney Ford). They have an open relationship and each is totally fine with the other getting it on with whatever random hotties they come across… until they aren’t. Like when Sam runs into her old college boyfriend, James (Routh: Zack and Miri Make a Porno), and Mason starts getting it on with Sam’s sister-in-law, Olivia (Shoshana Bush). Blah blah blah.

You know what happens next: Jealousy. Recriminations. Swung fists. Tears, of course. The cast is appealing enough, in that sweet-faced way that makes you want to hug them at the same time you’re smacking the aforementioned sense into them, but not appealing enough in a talent way to enthrall you in their nonsense. They think they’ve got troubles? Oy, the stories I could tell them…

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