In Search of a Midnight Kiss

Critic's Pick In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Director: Alex Holdridge
Screenwriter: Alex Holdridge
Cast: Scoot McNairy, Brian McGuire, Sara Simmonds, Kathleen Luong, Twink Caplan
Release Date: 2008-09-03
Studio: IFC
Rated: R
Genre: Comedy

This is Annie Hall for dudes who listen to Coldplay. Woody stand-in Wilson (McNairy) is a Y-generation kind of neurotic: In one awkward New Year’s Eve, he places a Craigslist personal, takes bong-hits in lieu of therapy sessions, and endures the Farrelly-esque humiliations of discussing his mother’s breast implants and getting caught, um, not-so-empty handed with Photoshopped fake porn featuring his roommate’s girlfriend.

His ad’s first respondent, Vivian, is of course the beautiful, quirky, self-assured kind of lady who always seems to dig on the pale awkward types in these sorts of films (see also: Garden State, Juno, Swingers), but get this: They (spoiler) totally don’t like each other at first. Then, through a (spoiler) series of cleverly penned dialogue, they end up totally liking each other (spoiler), maybe. We’ve seen this before, mostly, but it’s worth another viewing here.

The relationship dynamics in Holdridge’s script feel true to now, when online come-ons have largely replaced the bar scene, hardcore pornography is a casual conversation topic, and “internet infidelity” is a potential relationship killer. Maybe more interesting than the story itself, however, is Robert Murphy’s cinematography. The film serves as a gorgeous black-and-white tour of the hipster’s Los Angeles, featuring nearly as many frames of tourist-less architecture as the principal characters themselves. Wilson, at times, even goes so far as to point out the building in frame and its date of construction. While the double-decker-bus act eventually gets old — as does Wilson’s single-tear sensitivity bit, it’s refreshing to see both a guileless L.A. tribute from the indie set and an informed look at the post-You’ve Got Mail internet hookup.

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