MOVIE REVIEW: Twelve Thirty
An indie picture to avoid
I had about 20 people in a two week span, tell me I should be a stand-up comedian. I wrote 30 minutes of material, read it to my parents and girlfriend, but they were only mildly amused by my routine. I then realized that most people that think they’re funny should realize they probably are, in small doses; it doesn’t mean you should drop everything and become a comedian. Yet when it comes to movies, it seems everybody thinks they can be a writer/director. After all, we have technology that allows people to have their own cameras and editing tools. It may be time consuming and cost money – but if they want to do it, they do it.
The latest example is Twelve Thirty, from writer/director Jeff Lipsky (Flannel Pajamas). It was two hours of my life, wasted. I’m happy the Reading Gaslamp is getting some of these small indie films that aren’t playing at the Landmark Theatres. Any time you can run a movie that’s different, instead of showing Green Lantern on two or three screens, I encourage that. I just can’t give a good review to crap.
The situation in Twelve Thirty seems forced, with dialogue that isn’t even as interesting as the conversations with my friends at Denny’s, talking about our day. And the camera is often shaking when we have a close up on somebody talking.
The cast of unknowns is all fine in their parts. Portia Reiners is cute; a poor mans Kate Hudson. She has some chemistry with Jonathan Groff, who is going to have a great career in films. He plays a 22-year-old virgin, who’s never even kissed a girl. He tells her that this is because he has curvature of the penis, but that doesn’t explain the kissing part. If you can get over that far-fetched set-up, then you have to deal with him having a one-night stand with her (she likes him, but decided from the get go, that it was a one time thing). He ends up in a closet with her sister, also a virgin, soon after. That’s one of two scenes shot completely in the dark. Not sure why we couldn’t hear all the noise from the party that’s going on right outside that closet.
Karen Young plays the mother of these two girls, and surprise! She has sex with the boy, too. That could’ve been done creatively, but the conversation she has with the boy in her bedroom is so bizarre – I would’ve ran from this Mrs. Robinson. Her ex-husband is bisexual, and has a few of the only interesting scenes in the movie. One is when he’s threatening to discipline the one of the daughters (it veers into Dog Tooth territory); the other is when he breaks down while talking about a bully that picked on him in high school, and a teacher that befriended him
Having a movie based on a few dysfunctional people in Cedar Rapids is a fine premise, but I’m baffled as to what Lipsky was thinking. I had to tell many of my teammates on the high school basketball team, that they’d never make it to the NBA. I told my own brother he wasn’t a good comedian. Somebody needs to tell Lipsky – if he’s going to do another movie he wrote – he needs to write something decent, and perhaps invest in a tripod or two.
Go out and support the Reading Gaslamp when they get these smaller movies – just don’t do it with this one.