Netflixable? “Bad Match”

 

bad-match

Here’s the social media era in dating perfectly summed up by a master of the “swipe right” hook-up.

“It’s like going to a bar on Friday night, without everything that sucks about a bar. On Friday night.”

For Harris, cavalierly played by Jack Cutmore-Scott of “Kingsman,””Dunkirk” and TV”s “Deception,” is an absolute terror on Tinder — actually its legal-department-approved-clone, named “Head Over Heels.” A 20something Internet Age ad-man who crushes it at work, entertains himself playing online first-person shooter games, each night’s adventure begins in a bar with a lot of swiping right on dating aps.

She shows up, grins and giggles all around, he plays “Let me read your ‘drink aura,” which he inevitably does — adding “shots” at the end of it.

And they wind up in bed. Night after night, which ends when he slips out of bed with barely an “I had fun” kissoff, because he did, an implied “I’ll call you” promise, because he never does.
“Bad Match” is what happens when he hooks up with Rachel, played with an Erika Christensen (“Swimfan”) 2.0 verve by Lili Simmons  (TV’s “Hawaii Five-O” and “Ray Donovan”).

She walked into the bar, a literal “Devil in a Red Dress,” and we know Harris is about to get some serious comeuppance for his faithless ways.

Because as determined as he is to continue his routine, it’s that second night — a pointed, irresistible sext leading to pin-your-ears-back sex — that’s the clincher. She spends the night at HIS place, turns off HIS alarm so he misses his important pitch meeting, and it’s all downhill from there.

“What kind of a nutjob shuts off your alarm?”

What kind of “nutjob” stays in your apartment all day, fetches groceries and cooks you a nice meal to make it up to you?

“What’s a little breaking and entering between friends?”

“The nerve,” his friends (Brandon Scott, Kahyun Kim) harrumph with him in the bar later that week. He’s tactfully, he thinks, moved on, gently blown off “What’re you doing right now, lover?” sexts and held his temper when she starts badgering him at work.

“She’s certifiable. I’m just glad I don’t have any pets.”

Yeah, when she overhears his cruelty, she cusses him out. And as things start to unravel in his life, he starts seeing her in a Glenn Close wig with a carving knife, “Fatal Attraction” redux.

Harris, a “slave to my genitals” who has this whole “dating” scene all figured out, is a creep. He may know “The Tao of Swiping,” may excuse his behavior with an “I just don’t get a girlfriend vibe from her,” time and again.

But when you lose your job, the FBI “SWATs” your apartment to find child porn on your laptop, maybe it’s time to do some soul searching, make amends or at least flee.

As you’d expect, Harris does none of that, in spite of the advice of a lawyer. And that’s when things turn violent.

Writer-director David Chirchirillo — the darkly-comic indie “Cheap Thrills” was his debut film — has filmed an efficient, chatty, expectations-flipper of a thriller built around a “hero” played with darkly comic bravado. Because Harris is really hung up on “Fatal Attraction.” 

“When I’m dead, I hope you think about this and it makes you very very sad.”

It’s a short, generally brisk movie which is meant to make the bros watching it think about “Who’s the real villain here?” Because Harris has a hint of sociopath about him, at least in the ways he regards women.

He fears (just a bit) his boss (Noureen DeWulf) and flips the power script with virtually ever other woman he meets — because he can. That’s how Chirchirillo wants us to read him, anyway.

I can’t say the film makes that leap obvious or intriguing, just barely plausible. “Bad Match” is too short and formulaic to give us anything to really chew on.

The unfortunately-named Cutmore-Scott makes Harris a likable lout, and Simmons makes Rachel every screen stereotype of “needy” and “unstable” date.

Whatever epilogue twists are thrown at us (obvious, too), the soul-searching we should be doing is muted, an afterthought. If you think “Wow, this is great,” try the “flipping the gender of the protagonists test.”  Still think the film plays fair with expectations, point of view and rough justice?

 

2stars1

MPAA Rating: TV-MA

Cast: Jack Cutmore-Scott, Lili Simmons, Brandon Scott, Noureen DeWulf

Credits: Written and directed by  David Chirchirillo. An Orion/Gravitas release.

Running time: 1:23

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