Fans of Gilmore Girls will love this new find that I just recently found on Netflix (& you can rent on demand if you don’t have Netflix) called STRAIGHT UP. Not only because the main girl protagonist’s name is Rory and she and the male protagonist both happen to mention they love the show Gilmore Girls but because this film shares one very big identifying trait that was present in that series: rapid fire witty dialogue. Which is probably why it mentioned the television show, so that we critics think that it is more of an homage and not a straight up rip off. And it does come off as an homage, mainly because the rest of the story goes well right along with it. It’s definitely a dialogue rom-com, so if you are looking for any…ZANY physical comedy situation to arise somewhere in this film, look elsewhere. This movie is shot like a Wes Anderson film, symmetrical stable shots with no dollies or any complicated shots, and the story is told mainly through the dialogue and the fantastic acting by both leads, Kate Findlay and James Sweeney, the latter who both wrote and directed this film. That’s also part of why this movie felt realistic, because he had his hand in literally all of the production. This is one of those streaming films that you can put on in the background and still follow the story even if you aren’t looking at the screen, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that you’d miss some great facial expression reactions in doing so.
Per IMDB, Straight Up is described as follows: “Todd and Rory are intellectual soul mates. He might be gay. She might not care. A romantic-comedy drama with a twist; a love story without the thrill of copulation.” While the movie doesn’t have a clear cut ending, as it leaves a couple of tiny threads ambiguous, it doesn’t matter as the narrative ends exactly when it needs to. The dialogue in this grabs you from minute one and doesn’t let up until the end credits. Yes, I love action movies, but I also love when a movie breathes a little with a lot of talking as long as it doesn’t feel forced or unrealistic. The rapid fire exchanges between everyone feel realistic here, and a lot of one liners will make you laugh your ass off. The two more recognizable faces in this are Randall Park and Betsy Brandt as Todd’s parents, and their 5 to 10 minutes of screen time is some of the most chuckle worthy yet emotional in the film. I found Todd’s reasoning for not wanting to be with men, because of bodily fluids, especially poop, to be realistically hilarious yet kind of sad at the same time, and I found Kate’s reasoning for not really needing sex but an intellectual male partner on the same level and realistic as Todd’s OCD. I just really liked the story and the dialogue. I’ll be straight with you: this isn’t a masterpiece by far, but it is a solid, solid one time watch, specially if you are a dialogue fan like me.