Directed by Jon Gunn and John W. Mann. Written by Rick Gomez, John Gunn and John W. Mann. Starring Rick Gomez and Joelle Carter.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Fallen-from-grace TV personality Dick Romans’ wife leaves him on the eve of their week-long anniversary party.
I spent years working in video rental stores, back when the world had video rental stores. When you have access to a wide range of films (and get sick of predictable, formulaic genre titles), you start seeking out anything experimental and off-the-beaten-path. Believe me, I know “independent” can mean shit just as easily as mainstream, but I found real gems by going through the single-copy new release titles that showed up each week. (Gems like Sound of My Voice, Leave, Dear Zachary, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, Excision, Perfect Sense…)
I say the above to say this: The Week would have been one of those smaller releases I’d recommend to every customer looking for something different. It’s a comedy, certainly. Maybe even a romantic comedy, but not manipulative or pretentious or by-the numbers. Not change-your-life amazing, either, but very good across the board. If you worked in a video store for any amount of time, you’ll know exactly how rare that is.
Main character Dick Romans is not a good man (despite what some might say). He’s funny, charismatic, and a serious asshole. He hasn’t made good on being good. Not yet. The journey of The Week is him coming to terms with this. But it doesn’t descend into a pity-party or naval-gazing non-narrative.
Caterer/love interest/single mother Lenny is a three-dimensional being. Bless the writers’ hearts, she’s not a symbolic prize. When Dick tries to pull a Jerry Maguire on her, Lenny’s reaction is a breath of fresh fucking air. Carter’s performance is natural and nuanced. I believed her. I believed everything about her. (Though it’s sort of sad that I have to applaud a movie for letting a female say: “You wanting me isn’t all that needs to happen. I haven’t been waiting for someone to save me. I’ve got my own life and you’ve got shit to sort through before even trying this.”)
Highlights: toothpaste abuse; The Happy Atheist Cookbook; wine-tasting set to rap; the best dog performance of all time; Frank John Hughes; Annie Lennox’s hedge maze; an amazing toss of a soft-cast into a tree that had to be a one-take wonder.
The Week isn’t a drop-everything-you’re-doing-and-watch-now movie, but give it a chance the next time you’re looking for a comedy with some intelligence.