Movie Review: “Great Great Great”

 

We see the signs of trouble between Lauren and Tom, even if they themselves cannot.

She’s just turned 30 and her live-in boyfriend of five years is a sweet, passive skinny dweeb, a chronically unemployed city planner.

Her parents are divorcing, but not splitting up and that has Lauren fretting that this could happen to her, that she and her love could drift into the “roommate” zone.

And her suggestion, that they start “goal-setting  striving for the best for ourselves and each other,” means she should work on her French (they’re Canadians). Tom?

“You can get serious about finding a job, working out and making new friends.”

For starters.

And then a hunky fling from her past shows up at the office and reminds her what a take charge guy is like.

But sure, everything’s peachy, “Great Great Great” as they tell each other, friends and relatives.

“Great Great Great” is an intimate three-hander, a love-triangle tale tarted up with sex (those darned Canadians), psychology and the complexity of the human heart.

Lauren, played by co-writer Sarah Kolasky (“Liar”), is confused about what she wants and sets out to make at least one of the men in her life fulfill her needs and fantasies.

Failing that, she’s going to keep sleeping with them both.

Tom (Dan Beirne of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Fargo”) is a bit defeated by the job hunt, drinks and plays with LEGOs all day and hopes to finally get that call back offering him work. It never seems to happen, and he’s stymied. Any plans that he might have to marry Lauren are, like everything else, put on hold.

Lauren finds herself making little digs at Tom’s financial status to friends and family.

And then pushy, assertive former fling David (Richard Clarkin of “Goon”) is given the managing job at Workspace 45, a business incubator where she works.”You and me are going to make a good team” he purrs, and she all but swoons.

David is everything Tom is not — Type A, “I KNOW you’re attracted to me” and “You don’t WANT me to be a good boy” and all that.

And Lauren, sexually harassed or not, buys in. Sure, she tries to amp up things in the bedroom with Tom, assuaging her guilt and maybe making him over in more of David’s image.

Sure, that’s icky. But she’s got her needs and priorities, right?

“I would sell my ovaries for a macaroon right now.”

“Great Great Great” finds humor and pathos in Lauren’s over-eager two-timing. She’ll take charge and give Tom a little taste of the uniformed schoolgirl fantasy, add a little dirty talk and wild abandon to their sex lives.

But that’s after she’s taken a naughty schoolgirl selfie to send to David.

She’s engaged, “but it’s not serious.” “We’re committed to each other,” but there’s an empty supply room just downstairs from the office. With a door. And a lock on that door.

Not enough is made of the masculinity contest between the two guys, and Lauren’s easy acquiescence to David’s come-ons — lying to Tom, her friends at work and herself — suggests there’s more going on here than simple impulse, more that should have been developed.

The sex scenes have a strained sense of fun about them, one partner trying too hard, the other bowled over. The pain, when it comes, feels real, unforced and complicated partly because Tom does seem like a guy with a limited ceiling in pretty much every regard.

Kolasky makes Lauren sexual to the point where her sexual impulses confuse her. Is is biology that draws her to David? Is the hypocrisy of her reaction to her parents’ divorce weighing in her actions?

The plaintive but bemused solo piano score of David Arcus and understated, just-the-basics direction by Kolasky’s longtime collaborator Adam Garnet Jones allow “Great Great Great” to come off, a winner by a hair. But Kolasky paints a memorable portrait of the difference between “what women want” and “what women SAY they want.”

stars2

MPAA Rating: unrated, sex, mild violent and profanity

Cast: Sarah Kolasky, Dan Beirne, Richard Clarkin

Credits: Directed by  Adam Garnet Jones, script by Adam Garnet Jones and Sarah Kolasky  An Ammo release.

Running Time: 1:20

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