Not Since You
Directed by: Jeff Stephenson Cast: Desmond Harrington, Kathleen Robertson, Christian Kane, Sara Rue, Elden Henson, Jon Abrahams, Sunny Mabrey Running Time: 1 hr 25 mins Rating: PG-13 Due Out: November 23, 2010
PLOT: A group of NYU students that have lost touch are reunited during a friend's wedding weekend. Sam (Harrington) still might intense feelings for now-married Amy (Robertson) while Howard (Abrahams) is mad at his ex-best friend (Estes) for stealing his old girlfriend (Mabrey).
WHO'S IT FOR? Adults who are old enough to have gone through a high-school or college reunion might have a chance of appreciating Not Since You the most.
Proudly set in Georgia, Not Since You offers a different type of southern comfort to its audience. As the portrayal of these relationships unfolds, at about the forty-five minute mark it soon becomes clear that nothing is going to happen. No major twists involving these characters are in store, nor will they have to encounter a truly heartbreaking moment. Even the most dismal of movies can make us feel that viewer’s discomfort that wants all things to be right again. Kind of in a league of its own, Not Since You avoids that concept entirely, which is a peculiar choice by the screenwriters. It turns this particular movie into a film about guys realizing their old girlfriends actually weren’t right for them, simple as that. It’s something that they realize in the span of one scene, and then they cleanse their hands of it in the next. Real life isn’t always about bombastic confrontations. At the same time, some things within our real lives don’t make for an interesting movie.
The characters haven’t grown up since college (or even high school, for that matter), and neither have the way these adults would handle such situations. Sam and Amy’s second re-encounter during a wedding dance is made suddenly awkward when the DJ suddenly turns on a ballad, forcing them to dance close and slow. Howard walks by his ex-friend and aggressively nudges him, saying the words “traitor” between two coughs. The wedding reception begins with the main characters looking over their shoulders at one another, making way for a movie of light awkwardness with long glances. Are we still in the school cafeteria?
The script is fit for it, so why not cast a younger group, and set this movie in high school? Change the couples that are married to those with two-year long Facebook relationships, and have everyone talk about wrongdoings done to them during middle school or any grade after. Take out the wedding, and make it a graduation party. The actors wouldn’t have to be guided with any different directions, and the events/drama that unfolds would still be the exact same. And yes, the movie can still keep its Georgia loving cinematography, along with its product placement. Kids love Coke too. And beer. This idea might solve some of this movie’s problems.
Desmond Harrington gets top billing in the film, (in the closing credits especially, everybody else is listed in alphabetical order) and I’m not sure why. His performance is hardly something to champion. His character is supposedly on the brink of finishing a book about his life (what a gripping read that will be) and he’s apparently heartbroken about messing things up with Amy. Yet we don’t get an inkling of true sensitivity from the guy. He stalks around the movie not like someone whose feelings have been hurt by a woman, but more like someone that just broke out of jail (after killing a security guard, nonetheless). Harrington maintains that apparent blood lust with his glares. Even the “emotional” talks he participates in are complimented with a, “I’m Going To Kill You Next” glare.
“Doogs” is the most likable character of the bunch (but notice that this also means no one in this is close to “lovable”). Not because she's a walking brochure for Georgia and its food, but because she brings some form of sunshine to the entire casting. Everyone else appears dull next to her.
[Note: Not Since You makes it clear that “Doogs” is the biggest girl of the group. (However, she is the cutest.) Is it really necessary for her to fall for a (kind of big) guy who goes by the nickname “Fudge”? And why do the two bigger friends of the group have to be the ones who become romantically involved? At the very least, I applaud this movie for never making any jokes about weight, or appearance. This is one aspect of the film’s wholesomeness that is successful.]
The ADR is absent-minded in a few occasions, and the editing can sometimes be sloppier than the best ribs in town. The camera thoroughly enjoys literally dropping in on its characters, using that scene introductory technique constantly throughout the film. The cinematography does provide a few nice visual touches to the entire product, including a montage that includes heavy usage of “hot/cold” lighting. As for music, finger-picked guitars are constantly ringing throughout, accompanied by steel guitars and decent melodies. Somewhere there must be a soundtrack for this film. It would be a more pleasant revisit than this DVD.
For a title, Not Since You is short and Georgia-peach sweet, but perhaps a more fitting title would be She’s Just Not That Into You. The thesis of the movie comes a bit late into the film, but it still lays at the heart of this story: “You weren’t in love with me. You were in love with the idea of me.” Here is a movie about two stubborn grown men dealing with this extremely common concept of the course of 85 minutes. Listen, boys, it happens all of the time. Sometimes your compatibility with a girl is based more on looks than it is whatever you may think true love to be. But relationships founded in those mostly physical feelings don’t have the same strength as those made of heartfelt connection. This isn't science, this is just a fact of life. These guys should have learned about this in high school.
MOVIE SCORE: 3/10
Road to the Hill Audio Commentary