Monday, March 23, 2015

CIFF: 'Bread and Butter' Awkwardly Approaches Dating


Photo courtesy of Bread and Butter
"I have a couch," virginal Amelia points out to her date Daniel as he plops down on her single bed. Instead of moving, the gecko-owning, life coach-going Daniel stays put like he's completely frozen. Amelia uncomfortably slides in next to him, stacking pillows to make a barrier between them. This painfully awkward exchange is relatable enough to make audiences chuckle at indie rom-com Bread and Butter.

Thirty-something Amelia (Christine Weatherup) has never dated but suddenly finds herself balancing two guys — Daniel (played by Saturday Night Live's Bobby Moynihan) and the poetic, jobless Leonard (Micah Hauptman). Each character is plagued with eccentricities, from Daniel's odd tendency to pause at least three seconds before responding in any conversation to Leonard's habit of making video wills for friends and families.

The film is endearing in its quirkiness. Despite the fact that Amelia is in her 30s, it makes us feel nostalgic for clumsy first kisses, bumbling dances and nervous hand-holding. It is evident, however, that this is director Liz Manashil's first film as the story's momentum slows two-thirds of the way through. Despite an underwhelming third act, it's good for lighthearted laughs and makes us — hopefully the majority — thankful that we are past those incredibly uncomfortable dating firsts.

The Cleveland International Film Festival runs through March 29 at Tower City Cinemas. To view a full schedule, visit clevelandfilm.org

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