Movie Review: Couple tries to have it all, a threesome that begins at “First Blush”

“First Blush” is a Millennial Dance with the Tiger romance, another generation’s flirtation with the “Threesome that Works.” Victor Neumark’s film posits that maybe this time, with this generation, we can stop the dance without the tiger eating us.

Hey, it could happen!

It’s obvious the first time we see them together that Nena (Rachel Alig) is a little controlling, maybe a tad highly strung. And Drew (Ryan Caraway) both defers to her and dotes on her.

Her little rant about keeping her 30th birthday quiet, about “hating” surprise parties earns a gentle, non-confrontational “How do you know?” Because she’s never had one, until now.

Their chatterbox pal Carrie (Jordee Korpanski) has invited a lot of people Nena doesn’t even know to this surprise. And the biggest surprise of all is how quickly she clicks with the young, slightly glamorous (she used to model) Oliva, played by Kate Beecroft.

Alig, who has an Aubrey Plaza look and vibe, nicely captures how rattled Nena is at what she tells this stranger on first meeting, how her marriage’s bottom line is that she knows she won’t “die poor and lonely.”

But no worries. Moving on. Her goal is that she hopes to “say yes” a lot more in her 30th year. Carrie and her fiance (Christopher Moaney-Lawson, funny and droll) convince Nena and Drew to come camping with them. So. “Yes.”

And when they get there, who should be the fifth wheel but Olivia, who doesn’t have her own tent?

Writer-director Neumark doesn’t fall into the titillation trap that most “threesome” movies do, making it all about the sex. He’s more interested in how the addition of Olivia to this marriage opens people up and opens cans of worms, some of which can never be closed.

The warnings are there, echoed by people privy to this little “arrangement” (they try to keep it secret). This “always” ends in “drama.” But sure, you kids go ahead and find out for yourselves.

No, “We can’t go back to the way things were.” Or can we?

The willowy Beecroft nicely embodies the laid-back-about-life confidence of “beautiful and I know it.”

Alig brings an antsy, analytical and confused energy to Nena.

Caraway’s character makes the longest journey, the guy whose too-honest wife talks about her first encounter’s sparks with Olivia and responds, hopefully, “We’re together forever, right? We’re solid? Right?” His undemanding “I live for your happiness” motto might not be all Nena wants out of life, but it plays well to them both. At some point, what’ll he expect in return?

The not-quite-comical squirming discomfort of some of scenes remind the viewer that Neumark cut his producing teeth on TV’s “Portlandia.” It’d be easy to see these characters, in more cartoonish form, on that show. But whatever tone he was going for, the thin sprinkling of laughs makes “First Blush” drag on more than it should.

He hits his serious points with just the right touch, here. Even if every generation has to figure out relationships on its own, and every generation looks for ways to, as the writer Tom Robbins pondered, “make love stay,” there’s enough evidence that maybe these three are foot soldiers in a post-binary world of sexuality, commitment and happiness.

Or maybe they’re like everyone who came up with this “solution” before them — kidding themselves.

MPAA Rating: unrated, sexual situations

Cast: Rachel Alig, Ryan Caraway, Kate Beecroft, Jordee Kopanski and Christopher Moaney-Lawson

Credits: Scripted and directed by Victor Neumark. A Gravitas Ventures release.

Running time: 1:47

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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