Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Amateur and Peculiar
For the past few months, I have been going back and re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as the Angle spinoff. Why? Well, because as anyone could tell you, Joss Whedon is amazing. What does this have to do with anything? Recently, I came across some interesting news that Amber Benson, who played Tara in Buffy wrote, produced, and directed a very rare movie called Chance starring other Whedonverse actors. Obviously this raised my eyebrow, because for how much Whedon influence is in this film, Joss himself had no part in the film past giving permission for…something that I’ll get into later. So how was the movie? It was…okay. The only thing is that most people won’t give this film a shot, given that it is rather unattractive.
Amber Benson plays Chance, a party girl that doesn’t take love or sex seriously. Every night she goes out and ends up spending the night with someone, whether it is a man or a woman. Her roommate Simon (James Marsters) is a man with a little bit of self-esteem issues, but is a very good friend of Chance’s. The film opens up with a dead woman on Chance’s bed, and the rest of the film goes through the events that led up to this unfortunate predicament. Andy Hallet, who plays Lorne in Angel also stars in this film as Jack.
The main issue with this film is how it is presented. It’s not very appealing to anyone watching. The aspect ratio is full-framed, the quality is sub-par, the frames per second used were 60fps versus the standard 23.976…the acting really wasn’t all that great either. Now, that could possibly be perceived as bad acting as well. Because the movie looks so unappealing, it could be drowning out what’s actually great acting. As their performances on Buffy and Angel have proven their abilities time and time again. There really isn’t a lot of reasons to actually watch this apart from the connections to Joss Whedon.
You see, not only were these three actors major roles in these TV shows, but the rest of the cast also have some affiliation with Joss Whedon. The film was shot in the same set as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and there were constant allusions to the shows as well. Such as Amber Benson sporting lesbian scenes, Andy Hallet singing in a club, and James Marsters being dogged on. All of these things are seen constantly on the television shows, and obviously were put in there to gain recognition from Whedon fans.
As for the film itself? Well, it at least seems to be an ideal black comedy, which is what it’s going for. We have people making dry but humorous jokes, comical musical transitions, and a semi-sturdy direction. It is coming-of-age as well, given Chance is a girl that needs to remember the meaning of sex and love, which by the way, was developed magnificently. The character development was done better than you’d think. The switched gender-role theme all had a purpose, and it all made sense why Chance was acting how a guy would normally about important connections, and why the guy is emotional and dependent on what love should be. It all makes sense, and I have to hand it to Benson for writing it, because it was actually very well written.
It really is peculiar, but black comedies often are. The whole creepy neighbor guy felt a bit too much to be honest, but the rest I could handle. It took a couple of musical transitions to get used to the idea. The transitions basically had a man singing a song on a guitar, and if you watch the film, just listen to the lyrics, they are actually pretty witty and smartly written.
Now…I can’t exactly recommend this film to anyone to watch…the fact that it is unattractive is a bit overwhelming, but if you are a Whedon fanboy, watch it. You’ll recognize some faces, and even some places. If you are over-obsessed with Whedon, you’ll also realize some of the wardrobe was borrowed from Buffy.
Take that as you will.