Have you ever noticed that “when you’re not in a relationship anyone else is in a happy one?”
Don’t shake your head, don’t even try to say “me?!?!, never”….it’s just you and your tablet, iPhone, smartphone…or whatever screen so be honest with yourself and just say …yes, it’s true.
Well, it’s with this big doubt that we enter in Charlie‘s world.
Charlie is the main character of Better Off Single, the new Indie Film by Benjamin Cox that premiered at the last Santa Barbara International Film Festival becoming after the first screening a huge success and a fast sold out and, lucky you, today, October 7th it hits also theaters and is available on demand!
But what makes this comedy so special that to call it a romantic comedy will be an unforgivable slagh?
Well, many things.
First of all …Charlie. You can’t watch Better Off Single till the end without finding at least a couple of moments where he is just you…maybe not the you you’re today but the one you’ve been a couple of years ago or even what..15/20 years ago.. Yap, I know you were just nearly a teenager but for sure you’ve been in love with the girl in school who simply wasn’t in love with you.
Charlie has a big lack: he can’t let go….He calls the young girl he is in love with 10 times a day even if she doesn’t reply because “who put a heart around a NO if she really means yes?”; he accepts her teenage girlfriend flirting with other guys just for not losing her…and then, one day, he meets Angela…. the girl who in real life can bring even a saint to become a murderer….cool at first; a nightmare in no time.
The result? Everyone leaves him, even his shrink and he does it with most absurd break-up quote “is not you, is me.” But even this time Charlie tries to find an excuse “is nearly August so you probably have this medical retreat…” NO, you have just to move on by yourself ….people leave, resign yourself to this and turn over a new leaf for sake.
But, as happen to everyone, a turning point arrives suddenly in Charlie‘s life and, when he quits his job and his girlfriend Angela in the same day, is when the real journey begins.
Yes, because this is the real gist of Better Off Single. The movie is a journey…on the surface to find the right one….but on a second sight is a long and hard and impervious journey for Charlie to find himself because only when we know who we are and what we want we can open ourselves to someone else.
The search is not always easy because, as Charlie, we have to reckon with the worst friends advices ever and in his case they come from the perfect couple Kathy and Vince (and obviously they come with the big difference between woman and man point of view…ah, and with the big difference between the ones that come from Vince near his girlfriend and the ones from Vince with just male friends around). But also from the “I’m pretending I’m the happiest man on Earth now that I’m divorced but I’m always drunk and in tears when I’m alone” friend Brice.
But, most of all, we have to reckon with our inner part. And the journey, for Charlie, is so intense that he begins to suffer from surreal hallucinations, flashbacks and sex fantasies.
Mistake after mistake, finding himself in the most as funny as dramatic situations, at least Charlie will find himself….but thank Gosh…well thank Benjamin Cox, he will not find it in the classic cliché finding the one.
Writer, director and producer Benjamin Cox follows Charlie journey to himself in steps that on screen become four chapters: Mental Health, Living the Dream, WTF and the final chapter The Point.
Every chapter starts with a slow motion scene with classical music (by the way Kenneth Burgomaster score really rocks) in the background or with one of sex fantasies and between inner and outer world we find ourselves soon lost in translation. Talking with Ethan Steward at the Santa Barbara Independent, Benjamin Cox said that the book The Bonfire of Vanities had a really big influence on him in this: “ …what struck me was the syntax of that book. I hadn-t experienced a literary journey like that, traveling both in and out of someone-s brain, so quickly and so seamlessly. I was really impressed with the impact it had on me as reader. In general I find fascinating thinking about the translation between character-s inner and outer worlds.”
Another movie strengths is the terrific cast Benjamin Cox have put together.
Abby Elliott (No Strings Attached) is Angela the girlfriend Charlie can’t leave behind. Lovely at first, but a real nightmare in no time.
Lauren Miller (For A Good Time, Call…) is Kathy, Charlie‘s best friend’s wife to be soon, with all her perfect advises …that as woman advises are miles away from Charlie‘s perspective.
Shane McRae (Nshville, Four Kings, Rewind, Take Me Out on Broadway) is Vince, Charlie‘s best friend, child psychologist who treats Charlie sometimes as one of his little patient but who tries to keep him with his feet on the ground most of the time.
Kal Penn (How I Met Your Mother) is Brice the happy not so happy divorced friend with his unhelpful advices from who has tried both sides and pretends to be the happy Don Giovanni.
Kelen Coleman (The Office) is Lorelai the girl with the right appeal to give Charlie the opportunity to regain the reins of his life.
Jason Ralph (The Magicians, read here our interview at the Montecarlo Television Film Festival) is Brad.
Last but not least we have the man himself: our Charlie, brought on screen by Broadway star Aaron Tveit. He doesn’t need any kind of introduction; he is just the hit actor of the moment. Recently on screen in the terrific Grease:Live! as Danny Zuko, star of one of the most clicked YouTube’s video of the month on April in his MisCast performance of Take Me or Leave Me alongside Gavin Creel and on stage on April 27th to support Broadway Cares taking us back in time with a moving performance of Seven Wonders from hit musical Catch Me If You Can in a duet with his former stage co-star Kerry Butler. Talking with Collider about Better Off Single (back then Stereotypically You), Tveit said that when he read the script he loved it straight away especially because the kind of story told in Better Off Single from a guy’s perspective isn’t necessarily the norm and that Cox’s script was so good that at the end the result on screen is pretty much exactly how it was on paper. Aaron Tveit also spoke about his character saying: “He is a little bit more in his head than I am, but in the same way, I feel like I’ve had to do that I’m always doing that. I’m at a place in my life where I do finally feel, at least most of the time, that I know who I’m and I’m comfortable with the person that I am. Because of that, I’m ready and open to meeting the person that hopefully I’ll share my life with. But, it takes a long time to get that place.” He spoke also about his New York (the possessive pronoun is due as even when he was here in London two winters ago doing Assassins at the Manier Chocolate Factory he said to Broadway.com how much he was missing NY, and we felt a little bit hurt as we were so grateful to have his stage skills in town again instead). Back to New York he said about how shooting there is so great because “wherever you put the camera is amazing” as he showed on his Instagram profile few months ago in a wonderful picture from his last project Brain Dead‘s set, the new CBS series by Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife). He has been recently in theaters in the sport movie Undrafted (alongside his Gossip Girl‘s cousin Chace Crawford) as Vertical Entertainment bought distribution rights few months ago.
Benjamin Cox (producer, writer and director) is the founder of Red Square Pictures, a New York based film production company. Cox produced, wrote and directed also David Gandy’s Goodnight, named by Fashion Film Network as the 2nd most-wanted fashion film on Earth the month of its YouTube release. The movie finished 2nd at the 2014 Fashion Film Awards held during the Cannes Film Festival behind Polanski‘s A Therapy but also ahead directors as Roman Coppola, Baz Luhrmann and Martin Scorzese. Benjamin Cox is also a BAFTA New York member. He said that usually his wife and he split the movies in pop-corn movies (film to see just for fun) and broccoli-movies (film that are good for you)….Well the amazing thing is that Better Off Single is exactly the perfect mix of popcorn and broccoli; touching the broccoli peak in the outstanding final Charlie‘s monologue.
So, what are you waiting for? Better Off Single is screening in cinemas today and on demand…and it’s time to follow Charlie’s advice: “…just seat back, be thankful and enjoy the ride.”
“One day I’ll die having never find that kind of love.”