Skills Like This could use a few new tricks

3.25.2009

By Noah Michelson

This is pretty much the gist of Skills Like This. Our main bro is Max (Spencer Bergen), an aspiring writer who gives up on himself after a performance of his god-awful play, “The Onion Dance,” sends his grandfather to his deathbed. Robbed of his artistry, Max has only his physical attributes -- a pair of aviators, a leather jacket, and a Jewfro -- to alert the audience of his Inherent Coolness. His two cohorts, Tommy and Dave (Brian D. Phelan and Gabriel Tigerman), are an exercise in too much and too little; Tommy is an irreverent, immature douchebag and Dave is a tepid, repressed goody-two-shoes. I couldn’t figure out what any of them had in common as a trio, except for, of course, the aforementioned trying to “find themselves” and eating burritos together.

Very early on, Max inexplicably decides to rob a bank because his greatest talent is (all of the sudden) stealing. (It just is -- get used to not asking demanding questions of this film.) During this first crime, we meet Lucy (Kerry Knuppe), a pretty bank teller that Max holds up at gunpoint. Guess what? They happen to meet up later and… well, you know the rest…

Max continues to rob people inexplicably and apathetically because that makes his character interesting in a very basic sense; Tommy gains some maturity, while Dave learns to let loose; Lucy, who’s attracted to Max’s Inherent Coolness, love-hate-loves Max in the span of two days; and as the whole load is finished off with a sunlit road trip montage, the cast has finally “found itself,” content now to eat burritos all the live long day. If only being a twentysomething dude were so easy!

-- MIKE BERLIN

Previously > Falling for Duplicity

Tags: Popnography
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