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Florida Film Festival: Forev

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Forev is a romantic comedy that wears quirky on its twee little sleeve. There are some genuinely sweet moments in the film, particularly involving its two leads, but for the most part the film disappoints. It takes a thin premise and tries to stretch it to feature length by peppering the story with oddball characters that seem imported from not just a different movie but a totally different genre. A few decent scenes does not a good movie make, and that is clearly evident here.

Matt Mider plays Pete, a nerdy IT guy who works from home and pines for his next door neighbor Sophie (Noel Wells), a party girl and aspiring actress who occasionally hangs out with Pete but seems to regard him as staying firmly in "just friends" territory. This begins to change when Sophie invites herself along when Pete drives to Arizona to pick up his younger sister Jess (Amanda Bauer) from college. On the road she confesses she has a crush on him, and they start to kid around about getting married. What starts as a joke becomes serious when an opportunity to actually get married presents itself.

There were times during the film that I found myself leaning toward liking the story, particularly anytime Amanda Bauer is on screen; she has a natural presence and charisma. Mider and Wells are fine as the two leads, and there were a few moments that I believed their relationship. These moments were few and far between because co-writers and directors Molly Green and James Leffler seem more concerned with throwing wacky plot developments at their central trio than developing their characters. I never once believed Pete and Jess as siblings, and Pete's consistent obsessiveness with Jess's sexual activity came off as creepy rather than older brother protectiveness.

What really harms the movie is the inclusion of several characters that are just wrong for this story, particularly Timmy the Wacky Mechanic (Timmy L'Heureux) and Chuck the Wacky Hippy (Chuck McCarthy). The fact that these characters have the same names as the actors playing them makes me wonder if the directors just included their friends Timmy and Chuck and said "Hey, be your wacky selves!" Anytime these two are on screen the narrative grinds to a halt and never recovers.

I really hate to give a film a negative review when it's obvious a lot of hard work and passion went into its creation, but it is not the critic's job to go easy on a movie just because it's an independent film and not a big studio production. There might have been a pretty good movie to be found here, but alas, Forev is not that movie.

For more information on the Florida Film Festival, visit the official website, and check out more of my reviews from the fest here.