Girl meets boy, boy meets girl.
I mean, sure, they’re strangers connected, arbitrarily, by a caper. They don’t know the nature of it, don’t know each other’s real names.
There’s just this briefcase. They pick it up, she drops him off, he passes the unknown package on to somebody else.
She’s a turnstile jumper who never pays to travel. He cooks for his Polish mother’s off-the-books, computer streaming in her apartment harness racing “club.”
How can young love between these two “Tramps” flower with so little to go on?
Writer/director Adam Leon has created a lightweight romantic comedy with a pall hanging over it. There are other forces involved, the threat of legal complications or violence and betrayal is in the air.
Because the path to a one-day love affair was never smooth, especially in the movies.
Callum Turner of “Assassin’s Creed” and “Green Room” is Danny, the devoted son who does what his Mama (Mariola Mlekicki) tells him. And one day, when his brother Darren (Michal Vondel) calls from jail, locked up just long enough to keep him from taking care of this deal he’s set up, Mama is the one who insists Danny cover for him.
Danny’s young, lovelorn, and a would-be cook. What does he know from “making a drop?”
You go this place, meet a guy with a car.
“Are you the guy?”
“Yeah. Are you the guy?”
“I’m the girl.”
She drives the car, he rides along. They make a stop. Alarms go off, and a briefcase is dropped in the back seat. Danny’s supposed to leave it with a woman with a green bag at a commuter train stop. Which woman? Which green bag?
He makes a mistake, and the movie is about these two — Grace Van Patten of “The Meyerowitz Stories” plays Ellie the driver — thrown together, trying to track down this lost briefcase for these guys who never come right out and make threats, but who you can just tell mean business.
Danny asks a lot of questions. Ellie doesn’t feel like answering them…at first. But the way she ditches a car and her phone’s sim card lets us know she’s done this kind of thing before.
She takes charge. Her job now includes baby-sitting this amateur. “It’s gonna COST you,” she yells into the phone. Danny? He’s smitten and curious.
“Where you from?”
“So, you live with anyone in Pittsburgh?”
“I live with a Ricky.”
“What’s a Ricky? I had a lizard named Ricky.”
“Sounds about right.”
As she figures out where the package has gone, he tags along in her sleuthing, stumbling into suburbia, confronted by irate rich folk who can see they don’t belong here, hiding over overnight in a boathouse, where “cuddling for weather purposes” makes for strange bedfellows.
Leon gives Van Patten and Turner fun banter to play and amusingly mismatched characters to tackle.
He’s all attempted mustache and “I’m not even supposed to BE here,” and all disheveled, scheming and pissed off — all business.
But in the movies, guileless wins over guile every damned time.
“Tramps” tends towards cutesy, with its “Bonnie & Clyde” bluegrass banjo chase music and Ellie’s biting “Who’re you to judge ME?” baiting, every time moon-eyed Danny steps into it, over-sharing sexual experiences, implying she has a lot more.
It’s a short but not necessarily brisk movie, and it’d be a shorter one if either one of them had a smart phone with Google Maps on it (a lot of schlepping around, lost).
But these “Tramps” invite us to tag along on their two day misadventure, and you can’t help but be glad you did.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Cast: Callum Turner, Grace Van Patten, Michal Vondel
Credits:Written and directed by Adam Leon. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:22