Reviewed by: Jane Fae

"A sweet, cleverly written, under-stated souffle of a production."

Oh my! I can see myself having to limit the range of movies I review even further. Currently, for those keeping tabs, I focus on action, comedy, sci-fi, documentary and…romcom!

After Weekenders, which bills itself as “a comedy drama about four people brought together by an Air BnB mix-up and prompted to re-evaluate their lives,” I might just have to rethink the latter. Because I just can’t cope with the will they/won’t they tension.

Like, we all know they will, because it is a romcom and that is what is meant to happen. That is what always happens. But the journey along the way is so, so fraught. My nerves really can’t take it.

The set-up is simple enough. Harper (Peyton Michelle Edwards) rents a remote cottage (?) in the wilds of Vermont in order to get away from civilisation for a bit. But, ooops! Mix-up alert! James (Erik Bloomquist), whose parents own the place, unexpectedly turns up under the impression that the house is empty for the weekend.

Awkward! But they are nice people. Very, very nice. Also, obviously, star-crossed, destined to exit up-stage holding hands by the end. So, after some very odd business requiring them to go buy petrol because Harper has left her keys in her car and it has …run out of petrol… they are soon getting on not so much like a house on fire as a comfortable mid-winter home fire burning low and warm in the grate.

Roll on tomorrow, when Harper’s sig other- and sig a’hole! - Blake (Ehad Berisha) turns up unexpectedly and, in between eyeing up any and every vaguely fit woman in the neighbourhood, throws a jealousy tantrum over the fact that Harper has spent the night in the same building (not bed!) as another guy. Like, what is this? 1957?

Throw in Alison (Maggie McMeans) a fun-time young woman in need of a good shag, and matched up with James courtesy of Harper’s Tinderising efforts and the stage is set for an even more awkward day and night and morning after.

From a slow as paint drying start, the action rapidly hots up, with Blake – jealous Blake! – suggesting the four of them play what must be one of the most anti-social drinking games I have ever seen. It is called Paranoia. Each player must in turn divulge the answer to a difficult/intimate question to one other. If either of the remaining two want to know what was asked, they must drink a vodka forfeit!

Tense? You could cut the air…

Of course, it ends bad-temperedly: in this it is apt prelude to some exceedingly unhappy coupling later that night: Harper with a’hole Blake; James with sex-starved Alison.

On the whole this is a sweet, cleverly written, under-stated souffle of a production. It is a romcom with the emphasis firmly on the rom, about the right people eventually finding each other. If you can stay with the metrosexual vibe that haunts the beginning, the dialogue is smart, but not forced. What does not get said in the silences between the words is well-observed and full of meaning.

Creds here to Erik Bloomquist and Peyton Michelle Edwards, who, as well as turning in fine performances as the lead couple, were also involved closely in the production: Erik as director; and Erik and Peyton as writers.

Romeo and Juliet this is not. If I was a little stressed by the more intense moments, that is on me: seasoned, objective film reviewer who cannot get through a musical without a copious supply of tissues (and a whole boxload for Les Mis, naturellement!). And yes: I, too, sniffled my way through the last moments of Natasha Romanoff!

The music fits the mood, despite being a little obscure: budget issues? Also, Weekenders is short, coming in at a little under 75 minutes.

All told, though, if you are looking for a little light distraction this evening, you could do a lot worse than Weekenders.

Reviewed on: 20 May 2021
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Weekenders packshot
A scheduling mix-up at an Airbnb brings four twenty-somethings together, each navigating the open waters of where, how, and with whom they're supposed to be.
Amazon link

Director: Erik Bloomquist

Writer: Erik Bloomquist

Starring: Peyton Michelle Edwards, Erik Bloomquist, Ehad Berisha, Maggie McMeans, Rudd Anderson, Jeffrey Fryer

Year: 2021

Runtime: 76 minutes

Country: US


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