Bart Got A Room

Bart Got A Room


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

This delightfully warm-hearted and hilarious indie comedy – easily the best one I saw in 2008 and the first I can remember in years that I’ve wanted to immediately watch again – has now been making its way around festivals of the world for almost a year. Surely there must be distributors out there who are willing to take a chance on something not connected to Judd Apatow or Adam Sandler? There certainly should be, because Brian Hecker ought to, if you’ll pardon the pun, have a heck of a career after this.

Danny Stein (Steven Kaplan) lives in the sort of Floridian retirement community were people go to play golf and die, not necessarily in that order. His mum (Cheryl Hines) and dad (William H Macy, sporting the finest perm to grace celluloid in a while) are separated and trying to forge new relationships, but his biggest problem is getting a prom date - though he’s prepared to settle from anyone other than his platonic pal Camille (Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat). As the clock begins to tick ever closer to the big day, it seems that extreme lengths will have to be gone to, particularly since Bart – the ever-present, yet for the most part unseen, school loser – is already rumoured to not only have a date, but also a room at the hotel where the prom is taking place.

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It’s true that proms are quintessentially American events and that they have been given more twirls round the comedy film dance floor than many would deem strictly necessary, but don’t let that put you off. The script puts the emphasis on fun and harks back to the sort of comedy that John Hughes (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains And Automobiles) used to pull of so well back before every teen comedy had to have a sex/scatological gag every two minutes. That’s not to say that this comedy is ‘butter-wouldn’t-melt’ sweet – there are plenty of jokes made about the dating process, but they are always a notch above the lowest common denominator.

Hecker has a sharp eye for the details that make both young love and living in a sleepy backwater innately funny and cleverly works his visual comedy alongside the scripting to add additional layers of laughter. The Floridian setting, makes for backdrops that are as colourful as the characters he places in them and – as I said after watching the film at Tribeca - if the sight of Macy making orgasm sounds on a scale of one to 20 to test the soundproofing of his new apartment doesn't make you laugh, you have no soul and never deserve to get a date again.

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2009
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Bart Got A Room packshot
It's tick-tock, tick-tock for Danny as the prom approaches, and he still doesn't have a date...

Director: Brian Hecker

Writer: Brian Hecker

Starring: William H Macy, Steven Kaplan, Cheryl Hines, Alia Shawkat, Chad Jamian Williams, Mike Benitez, Ashley Benson, Carrie Drazek, Brandon Hardesty, Kate Karpinski, Dinah Manoff

Year: 2008

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: US

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Ferris Bueller's Day Off