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Window Theory
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by Jason Whyte

"You had your window....and you blew it."
2 stars

Nearly ten years ago (my goodness, has it been that long?) I remember sitting down in a theatre seat to view this unknown little independent comedy called “Swingers” with then-unknown actors Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn directed by the nervous camerawork of Doug Liman. The key to the film was a careful watch on character and performance, and especially on the single life in LA and how these lead characters’ philosophies were wrong, we knew it, and we enjoyed watching them learn from it.

“Window Theory” almost wants to think that it is the “Swingers” of the new millennium, with a lead character who is so wrapped up in himself and can exercise any kind of power trip that he wants, but I wasn’t buying it like I did in the days of Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn club-hopping in L.A.

When Ethan (Corey Large) hears that his old friend Jeff (Luke Flynn) is getting married to Ethan’s old squeeze/now close friend Stephanie (Jennifer O’Dell), he flies from his comfortable, party-going existence in L.A. (where he is apparently buddies with Ron Jeremy, in a surprisingly wasted cameo) back to Victoria, BC to find himself back alongside his old friends who haven’t really moved along that much. Ethan’s close pals are Seth (Tom Lenk) and Brad (Luke Kirby) who appear to be stuck in the 12th grade.

Naturally, Ethan meets back up with Stephanie and some of the old spark comes back, much to the chagrin of Jeff, who has somewhat of a past with Ethan. Ethan, meanwhile, has become distant from everyone around him and is working in advertising, becoming the yes-man to Stu (Paul Johansson) the snotty vice president of Jeff’s firm. This keeps him busy, so Ethan and Stephanie can have far too many long conversations about their past at their parent’s house, which takes up an interesting amount of the running time.

And so it goes. The name of Corey Large may not be known to most people in the Hollywood circuit, but after viewing the film that he wrote, co-produced and stars in, you can’t get away from the guy. He’s all over the film. Surprisingly, he does not don the director’s chair; that honor goes to first-timer Andrew Putschoegl who needs to fire his editor; the film’s haphazard editing and coverage of all of the conversations never really lets us get a good look at what anyone is actually thinking.

Of course, the film is small-budgeted and I shouldn’t be so hard on the independents, especially Mr. Large, who is so heavily involved with this film and I’m glad to see someone make it in the business. Yet this story is so simplistic and its problems all over the map that it sadly calls attention to itself. A major road-bump occurs towards the end of the film, where Ethan and Jeff get some drinks in them and find themselves hitting on two girls at a bar. This is where the “Window Theory” comes into play, and it defies description to watch Ethan explain a silly theory about how women can only come into the romantic playing field at a certain time.

The film’s principal photography was performed in my home town of Victoria, and much of the local media has extensively covered the film, with much of the community supporting it (I keep talking to people in Victoria that mention that their friends were extras) as if no movies has ever been filmed here before. What’s funny is that besides a mention of a local street and a few wide shots, we never really get a sense of the beauty of the city. Large’s writing almost appears afraid to even make reference to it; let alone even show any of the gorgeous city further from a house on a lake and a supermarket which his parents own. That said, when the photography does open up to expose the Vancouver-Island area around his parent’s house, it does bask a warm glow that certainly does happen at magic hour on a summer evening. So at least that part is accurate.

“Window Theory” wants to be something more than it can be. It pushes too hard and wants to be “money” but this is the kind of film that Trent and Mike would not want to watch. And everyone is too pretty; but my goodness, do I wish someone as gorgeous and funny as Melissa Schuman actually lived here. Playing Stephanie’s quick-witted sister, the young beauty is a breath of fresh air, and I liked her few scenes where she could clearly read the mind of Stephanie and said what was on her mind. I read that Ms. Schuman is a former singer in a pop-group called Dream, but if she’s this likable in the future, she has a pretty good road ahead of her. She’s a beautiful baby. She’s so money. Too bad the rest of the movie isn’t.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11841&reviewer=350
originally posted: 03/24/05 20:23:57
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USA
  25-Feb-2005 (R)

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