Monday, June 4, 2018

Millennial Attraction

If a Lifetime networkish-but-not-made-for-Lifetime movie drops on Netflix with a silly title, how long will it take Emily to discover it? 

Quick PlotHarris (yes, Harris) is a late 20something playboy who spends his days working for a modern tech advertising company and his nights trolling a Tinder-like app for one-night stands with attractive, easily seduceable young women. One fated swipe right lands on Riley, a super enthusiastic grad student who quickly becomes a little too invested in the barely-there relationship.

Before you can look for a pet rabbit, Harris's life begins to unravel. Riley's sleepover causes him to miss a key business meeting, while her feigned suicide attempt takes Harris over the edge. The next day, his professional Twitter account has been hacked and worse of all, there's 5 GB of child pornography found on his hard drive.

Naturally, Harris has one goal in mind: find Riley and force her to admit her wrongdoing. 

As the kids say, it's complicated.

Bad Match is written and directed by David Chirchirillo, the cowriter on Cheap Thrills and a contributor to the sequel to ABCs of Death. What he does here is quite interesting, especially as you think more deeply about where the audience's sympathies lie throughout the 90 minute running time.

Star Jack Cutmore-Scott fills almost ever frame, and he's ultimately fascinating in his very own triteness. Maybe it's my own generational bias, but at the start, I wished TERRIBLE things upon this overly confident white dude bro who seemed to embody the worst of his type. As the film wore on, it was hard NOT to feel for a guy who was still an empty douche, but not the kind who deserved to have his life destroyed by an emotional misunderstanding. And yet, but the time the film's third act arrived, my thoughts had changed to a completely different level of head shaking disapproval.

In many ways, Bad Match feels like it would fit right at home with the occasional quality level Lifetime thriller (perhaps the only reason it didn't premier there was its focus on its male protagonist). Cleverly, it has a few more twists up its sleeve than your average straight-to-streaming flick (though in fairness, probably a few less than your average Lifetime premier). The more I think about who its real target is, the smarter Bad Match proves to be. What a neat surprise. 

High Points
Much credit to Chirchirillo and his handle on his two lead actors. Cutmore-Scott finds an interesting balance between empty jerk and actual human being, while Lili Simmons (the plucky nurse in Bone Tomahawk) makes Riley a believably needy flake who might be dangerously psychotic or who might just be a little young

Low Points
I enjoyed the film's nasty escalation in its latter half, but there's a key plot action that spoils a certain aspect of what's going down in a way that feels a little obvious. Maybe that was the point?

Lessons Learned
Never trust a woman who changes her hair color every three weeks

Public attorneys are not paid to leave voicemail

Keep the phone on your side of the bed

I pulled up Bad Match on Netflix because I was looking forward to a campy cheesefest, but it's actually a well-made and acted little film with an appropriately mean twist. I don't quite know what kind of mood you should be in for it, but it's definitely far more decent than its title and premise would suggest. Most importantly, if you've been out of the dating and social scene for more than five years, it will make you feel incredibly old...and thankful that you are. 

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