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‘We Need To Talk’ (review)

A content creator with relationship issues spends a day trying to figure out his life, relationship and everything seems like a pretty reasonable premise.

We Need to Talk is a romantic comedy of sorts, but it isn’t really romantic and not particularly funny.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not a romantic comedy as much as it is a coming of age movie for a wayward, selfish content creator.

Of course the timeline is a single day, so the emotional journey is a bit compressed. Maybe it’s not a coming of age movie.

Maybe it’s a commentary on content creator culture, the video game industry and emerging corporatism within the…

Nope.. it’s definitely not that.

I think you see where this is going.

For a first feature length effort, writer/director Todd Wolfe put together a watchable film, even in its a little all over the place. Where Wolfe succeeded was putting a an incredibly pretty cast together, so even if you don’t like what they’re saying, watching them isn’t bad at all.

James Maslow (Great Scott) isn’t just a pretty face though. He has solid delivery, a decent emotional range and some of the best scenes are him more or less talking to himself. He’s in basically every scene so if you don’t like him, this is definitely not a movie for you. Maslow plays a widely followed content creator and his best friend/producer Joe (Johnathan Fernandez) spends a majority of his screen time trying to get Maslow’s Scott to finish a video game review video.

Fernandez’s emotional range and believability is excellent and I’d love to see him in a meatier role. He has 62 credits on IMDB, but no leading roles. It’s too bad. He’s a leading man and a professional actor. He also has an Upright Citizen’s Brigade background so I bet he’s really funny if put in the right position.

Quick sidebar, IMDB lists the delightful Emily Bett Rickards as one of the stars of this film, which I suppose is technically accurate in her approximate 3 minutes of screen time and approximately 10 total lines. I assume she did the role as a favor to Todd Wolfe, but what a waste of her time. She plays a minor, somewhat embarrassing role that contains some of the worst writing in the whole film. I didn’t recognize her at first, but her gravitas is clear when she’s on the screen so I looked her up and my first thought was, why would she agree to do this?

For a story that seemed to have a lot of trouble deciding what it wanted to be, the technical side of it was excellent, considering the budget had to be low.

Usually in small budget indie films you see compromises in the production values, but I didn’t get that impression at all during We Need to Talk. The shots were all well lit, and the sound was good. The shot choices were top notch and the viewer is never confused as to what they should be looking at, which can happen if a director isn’t careful. So Todd Wolfe the director is pretty talented, even though Todd Wolfe the writer might need some seasoning.

The story has a beginning, middle and end, but the conflicts are ill defined.

he primary relationship conflict and professional conflicts are all crammed into the third act and the first two are just Maslow responding to a perceived conflict he largely creates himself in his own head, fueled by the few true friends he has. Sure, we can look at it as a high level Brené Brown lesson on the stories we tell ourselves, but there is no way that was the intent.

All in all this could have been a lot worse and I was definitely interested in a feature story about a content creator. I think we are going to be seeing a lot more stories like this since over one third of children aspire to be content creators according to a 2019 survey conducted by LEGO.

Hopefully the subsequent efforts are a bit better on the execution side.

2 out of 5 stars

 

*  *  *  *  *
Produced by Ray Carballada, Larry Weitzner,
Todd Wolfe, Paul Irwin
Written and Directed by Todd Wolfe
Starring James Maslow, Christel Khalil, Johnathan Fernandez, Emily Bett Rickards,
Tray Chaney, Chrisdine King, Peter Patrikios, Devin Kennedy

 

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