Dialogue-driven hilarity cannot be silenced in SHUT UP ANTHONY
One of the secrets to success of any romantic comedy or arthouse film (besides a well-crafted story) is some natural, free-flowing dialogue. Improvisation, although seemingly natural in delivery, can be risky and may become disruptive to the overall flow or can stray off topic. A well-written script paired with some exceptional talent is the key to any successful dialogue-driven film. Shut Up Anthony succeeds in this approach.
Shut Up Anthonyis Kyle Eaton’s feature-length directorial debut, and he doesn’t disappoint. To date, Eaton has directed four short films and a documentary short. This is Eaton’s take on the relationship genre and a character’s outlook on life, as well as thoughts and considerations about themselves, improved upon through personal loss and inner reflection. This is the blueprint for any ‘rom-com’ set to today’s standards.
Anthony (Robert A. D’Esposito) and Tim (Jon Titterington) were family friends. Anthony’s brother died, and the families became estranged. Both families share ownership of a time-share home. When Anthony loses his girlfriend Samantha (Katie Michels) and his job, he decides to escape to the family time-share for a while, unaware that Tim has decided to do the same thing at the same time, taking a break from his marriage and indulging in alcoholism.
Tim’s need for drink coasters and off-limits antique furniture, crossed with Anthony’s knack for burning meals and a less-than-neat work space make them a momentary modern odd couple, while they sort-out and discuss their shared similarities and differences.
They spend plenty of time discussing relationships, religion, addiction, and their personal pasts. Their discussions require so much time and focus, that when met with the possibility of a bar fight altercation, they choose to rationalize their differences rather than engage in fisticuffs.
At one point, Tim shares how his “thumb war” technique was a fail-proof method for meeting women before his marriage. Later, as this technique is attempted and fails, it becomes a metaphor for how these men must work on improving and bettering their lives. The old methods no longer work and it is time to rethink their life plans.
They reminisce about a time when they dared each other as kids to venture down a highway truck ramp, as it seemingly had no outlet. Moments during the film they theorize what could be at the end of that ramp and whether the results would be beneficial to them and worth the risk. This concept later becomes a metaphor for the ‘road less-travelled’, and the men have to decide whether or not to take the risk.
Shut Up Anthony is an entertaining film that spends less time on star power and a big budget, and more time on content and relatable storytelling. Take a break from life and see it.