(director/writer: Joe Swanberg; screenwriters: C. Mason Wells/Kevin Bewersdorf; cinematographer: Joe Swanberg; editor: Joe Swanberg; music: Kevin Bewersdorf; cast: Kevin Bewersdorf (Alex), Joe Swanberg (Tim), C. Mason Wells (Chris), Tipper Newton (Walter), Brigid Reagan (Ada), Greta Gerwig (Greta), Kate Winterich (Tessa); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joe Swanberg; Washington Square Films; 2006)
“A somewhat diverting tragicomic low-budget (supposedly made for $3,000) indie.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Joe Swanberg(“Silver Bullets”/”Uncle Kent”/”Drinking Buddies”), a professional Web designer, directs a somewhat diverting tragicomic low-budget (supposedly made for $3,000) indie, shot in video, about three Chicago post-college twentysomething male techies and their need to always be plugged in to their computers. Its title comes from the Internet slang for “laugh out loud.” Co-writersand actors Swanberg, C. Mason Wells and Kevin Bewersdorf play with idler charm the three fixated men.
The three obsessed computer buffs are Tim (Joe Swanberg), Alex (Kevin Bewersdorf) and Chris (C. Mason Wells). Tim has some income derived from his computer work. But because of his love affair with both his computer and cell phone, has difficulty tuning into his girlfriend Ada (Brigid Reagan). Tim acknowledges that he loves his laptop more than Ada, and refuses to ever go off-line. Alex is a struggling musician who creates sounds from homemade electronic instruments and video clips of friends making noise. The nerd goes ape over a soft core porn star he met on an adult website, Tessa (Kate Winterich). Alex imagines Tessa would meet him in person if he came to her home in St. Louis, and thereby schemes an imaginary tour for his imaginary band and talks nice girl neighbor Walter (Tipper Newton) into giving him a lift, but foolishly ignores that the real-life gal has a crush on him. Finally, there is Chris (C. Mason Wells). He moved to Chicago for a job and left behind in NYC girlfriend Greta (Greta Gerwig). Chris is trying to maintain a long--distance relationship with her via cell phone and the Internet. The lovelorn Chris desperately wants their communication to include phone sex, but their relationship becomes emotionally challenged by distance and miscommunication sets in as they begin growing apart.
The pic exposes the absurdity of modern-man’s misogynistic love affair with women, his mind-boggling attachment to machines and how disconnected he can be with real relationships. The actors were allowed to ad lib, and the result is that the characters talk like real people, it’s keenly observant about social issues and offers a flippant comical look at relationships for the social media set.
REVIEWED ON 7/5/2013 GRADE: B