(director/writer: Mike Doyle; cinematographer: Ludovic Littee; editor: Michael Berenbaum; music: Dabney Morris; cast: Pun Bandhu (Doctor), Scott Evans (Adam), Augustus Prew (Marklin), Zoe Chao (Haley), Michelle Buteau (Cammy), Patricia Clarkson (Ravella Brewer), Kate Walsh (Elizabeth), Colin Donnell (Henry), Chaz Lamar Sheperd (Damon), Brian Marc (Guillermo), John Doman (Tommy), Christopher Gray (Scott James); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Mandy Ward, Ellyn Vander Wyden, Kaolin Bass; Sell By Films; 2019)

“It tells a familiar romance story, but tells it well.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A charming ensemble comedy about a gay romance and misunderstandings in the smartphone era, that’s set in NYC. Sell By reminds one of Love Actually. It asks, Does every relationship have an expiration date? Sell By is cleverly written and directed by veteran actor Mike Doyle, in his feature film directing debut.

It was shown at the NewFest and at the OutFest. It does well displaying the ease the rom-com has with diversity. Sell By examines the separate lives of two homosexual men lovers, Marklin & Adam (Augustus Prew & Scott Evans), and the people they connect with: a bi-racial couple of 15 years experiencing some marital problems (Kate Walsh & Chaz Lamar Sheperd), a homeless man (Colin Donnell) dating one of the guy’s best friends (Michelle Buteau, steals the film with her comedy antics) and a thirty-something teacher (Zoe Chao) and her lovelorn teenage student (Christopher Gray). Each relationship or situation has its own ingredients for survival or loss.

After a five year romance, the successful fashion maven, Marklin, and, the frustrated well-paid copycat anonymous painter for celebrity artist (Patricia Clarkson), Adam, find their relationship at a crossroads and when trying to reconnect wonder if it’s all over thinking that maybe love has an expiration date. But they sensibly realize that each relationship has its own shelf life and reexamine what is important to them.

The film is not necessarily about their gayness but about the couple’s loss of emotional intimacy, which every couple can relate to. It tells a familiar romance story, but tells it well.

Sell By

REVIEWED ON 11/3/2019       GRADE: B