At first glance, you might believe I didn't think much of "Confusions of an Unmarried Couple," a Canadian indie flick from Brett and Jason Butler.
A grade of B-, after all, isn't exactly a stellar endorsement.
In a cinematic world where the likes of Larry the Cable Guy, Dane Cook and Uwe Boll are routinely thrown millions of dollars to make complete and utter crap, there's something truly special about this $500 (You read that right!) truly independent film.
It starts off with the Butler brothers working well within their budgetary constraints and working from a script, by Brett (who also co-stars and co-directs), that keeps the production requirements simple while allowing for a small cast and a rather straightforward story.
"Confusions of an Unmarried Couple" gives us Dan (Brett Butler) and Lisa (Naomi Johnson), a couple who break up when Dan walks in on Lisa not only having an affair but having the said affair with another woman.
What follows is, essentially, a series of scenes in which Dan and Lisa, individually and together, try to figure out exactly what went wrong. Quite often, this is done in hilarious and quite graphic fashion.
If Kevin Smith and Woody Allen were to have a cinematic love child, "Confusions of an Unmarried Couple" would be it.
"Confusions of an Unmarried Couple" is raw, crass, funny, honest and, I dare say, frighteningly familiar.
If you've lived life at all, been through a bad break up or ever been cheated on then odds are you're going to identify with either Lisa or Dan in this film.
It helps that both Butler and Johnson do a nice job of pulling off their characters, in both their strengths and weaknesses.
In most ways, Dan seems to be a self-deprecating, slacker, stoner without much going for him. He's a lot like that loser best friend we all have that we just can't help but love. Butler does a nice job of keeping Dan sympathetic, even when he's being a total ass (which is much of the time).
The same is true for Johnson, who exhibits tremendous potential as an actress and makes Lisa a young woman you can't help but care about.
Butler ultimately comes off a touch more authentic here, perhaps owing as much to the fact that he wrote the script as anything.
"Confusions of an Unmarried Couple" is immensely raw, with nearly non-stop sexual language, discussions about sex acts, body parts and a few moments of outright rage that may not play as well to the faint of heart.
Given the film's modest budget, tech credits are surprisingly solid. At a breezy 73 minutes, "Confusions of an Unmarried Couple" never wears out its welcome and actually leaves you wishing for more from this seemingly ill-conceived coupling and their romantic and sexual musings.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic