By Olga Benson (NY)
This is a movie about WRITERS – Screen Writers to be exact. The whole time in the movie of Playing it Cool it’s trying to tell us that this is one of the most smartest, charming and funniest romantic-comedies released (though the film is labeled as an anti-romantic comedy)sorry to break it to you but it could not be further from the truth. From first time Writer/Director Justin Reardon didn’t making his finest directorial debut, in fact it was a complete disaster, considering you’ve got various gifted actors telling this story you’d think it would be funny and delightful enough to watch but even the actors could not save this film. I’ll tell you why this film was less than perfect and why you’d probably be wasting your time and money by renting this very low budget comedy.
The Narrator of Playing it Cool who is a screen writer, played by the charismatic Chris Evans who is a charming, but casual dater, no string attached type. Though he has good reasons why he’s a commitment-phobic, his mother left him and his father when he was a young boy, just leaving a posted note explaining that she left and wasn’t coming back. He never had a chance to say goodbye. So after a string of hook ups he then meets a great, cool girl at a charity party and the two hit it off right away, though not realizing she has a serious boyfriend known as Stuffy, played by Fantastic Four’s Ioan Gruffudd.
Throughout the movie Evans as the Narrator talk his problems out with his friends and family, while also creating a fantasy, imagination of characters and themes as he tries to work out his relationship issues which can feel bazaar and sometimes out of place, it really wasn’t needed. And there’s also one other thing to keep in mind if you’re still considering watching this movie, the film doesn’t really have names of each characters, no actual names. Just description of who each person represents. Chris Evans is the Narrator, Michelle Monaghan as Her, because funny, strong women can’t have real identities anymore and her boyfriend, Ioan Gruffudd, is known only as Stuffy. Can you see why this movie bombed and hadn’t gotten much or any promotion attention?
However, you cannot fault the actors for the failure of this film, most of which did a fine portrayal especially Evans and Monaghan, who had great charismatic chemistry and a few of the supporting actors were equally good as well, like Tropher Grace who is the Narrators writer buddy and Anthony Mackie. The films weakness played a big part by the directing and writing from Reardon, he makes this movie flop and you can see right from the start that there’s nothing special to this movie that wouldn’t interest anyone, the story doesn’t go anyplace other than to number zero.
There are some light-hearted moments but I wouldn’t consider them funny enough to enjoy, and Aubrey Plaza’s character was nothing sensational, just the same plain characters she usually plays. Her nameless character always seemed to be constantly looking like she’s stoned or doesn’t give a crap about what’s going on around her. If you didn’t care for her character in Parks and Recreation she definitely won’t wow you in this movie, she portrayed her character more poorly than the rest of the cast.