Director & Writer: Aaron Burns Sad, fat, black, latino, nerd. It doesn't get any worse than that. Cast: Austin Marshall, Devyn Ray, Tiger Sheu, Danny Trejo, Jeff Fahey (World Premiere)
WHO'S IT FOR? I really couldn't say. Perhaps if you are a fan of student films that have a somewhat different slant on things and grab actors of all talents, then maybe blacktino is your cup of tea.
Last year at SXSW I saw a documentary about China set before the Olympics arrived. When push came to shove, that's what I would say was the worst film I had ever seen at SXSW. That was really unfair though. I was exhausted, and the pace was not what I expected. That's not the case with blacktino. I was ready. This movie is not.
This is supposed to be about a kid who is an intelligent (nerd) and doesn't fit in. Well, he wears glasses and talks like a nerd. Is that enough? Absolutely not. This film perpetuates stereotypes instead of bringing any new light on the subject. I consistently found it cruel instead of inclusive. Austin Marshall plays Stefan Daily and really shouldn't be expected to carry the lead of a film. He's just not ready, nor does it seems like he's heading in the right direction. His sidekick for the film is Devyn Ray as Laura Vega. She's loyal to Stefan but insanely mean-spirited. Since we the audience are given no reason to appreciate her, except for her ability to cut people down, it's very difficult to get behind moments where she screams at Stefan because he's always complaining about his parents (with good reason). Why is she complaining you ask? Because her parents are dead alright!? How dare you.
That's the kind of odd, sudden moments are thrust in your face almost out of nowhere in blacktino. While at SXSW, someone told me they saw a rough cut of the film, and thought it needed to be trimmed. My recommendation would be to keep trimming. If they lose another 25 minutes it would help the pace and perhaps make a little more sense. One thing that should end up on the cutting room floor is a misplaced montage and love letter to the city of Austin, TX. It doesn't fit any vibe the film had attempted to set. Cutting the film might help the flow, but you're still going to end up watching a film that is lacking, mean and poorly acted. Oh wait, that's right. You don't have to watch.
FINAL SCORE: 2/10