Thursday, March 26, 2015

Movie with Abe: Apartment Troubles

Apartment Troubles
Directed by Jennifer Prediger and Jess Weixler
Released March 27, 2015

New York City is a fascinating place unlike any other, but it is not known for being cheap. When someone says that what they are paying for a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side could buy a house in any other state, they’re not really joking. Some have it better than others, but living in Manhattan is always a wild, unpredictable ride. For two East Village residents who see paying the rent in full as an option, life is plagued with what could best be described by this film’s title, apartment troubles.

Creativity is a talent, but it rarely pays the bills. Nicole (Jess Weixler) is an artist who spends most of her time gathering materials for her work, which she refuses to show or sell since she is a perfectionist and is never satisfied with her finished products. Olivia (Jennifer Prediger) is an aspiring actress who has yet to hit the jackpot with a great role, eagerly awaiting callbacks for commercial auditions. The threat of eviction by their landlord (Jeffrey Tambor) after months of partial rent payments adds considerable stress to their lives and, as movies often afford their characters the opportunity to do, they take off in Nicole’s parents’ private jet to see how life is on the other side, in Los Angeles.

This escape from New York isn’t entirely fantastical, since many young New Yorkers – like Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath on “Girls” – could well subsist if they took their lives seriously and put effort into paying for their real estate, however out of their price range it may be. It distinguishes Nicole and Olivia from being truly poor, instead emphasizing just how little they do to improve their situation, spending excessive money on snacks immediately following the news of an eviction rather than trying to be proactive about it. Los Angeles provides an escape but also both new possibilities and harsh truths, fulfilling and deceptive in its own ways.

This film is especially fun because it is written and directed by its stars. Weixler should be familiar to audiences from “Teeth,” “The Good Wife,” and other projects, while Prediger is a fresher face. Both are perfect for their roles, Weixler as a buttoned-up pessimist incapable of relaxing and Prediger as a hopeful soul far too susceptible to heartbreak. They are ably supported by Megan Mullally, Will Forte, and Jeffrey Tambor in small roles in the supporting cast. This is a great film about young adulthood in New York City, one that isn’t brimming with originality but still has plenty of heart and comedy to share.


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