Victoria Strange, Trevor Van Uden, Rhys Gillett, Corrinne Mica, Maurice Tillmon, Jayanti Sharma, Albi Neziri, Michael Lockwood, Jarad Lacier, Allen Wayne Anderson, Jessica Duclos, Emma Potts
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
It's in its more serious moments that I was most engaged with Jovi & Lou, a dramedy from writer/director Terry Spears that takes a dark idea and makes it even darker with ample doses of both comedy and humor. In the film, Joey (Rhys Gillett) is a guy who enjoys his landscaping work and absolutely adores his wife, Mary (Corrinne Mica), a public defender who's gotten a wee bit tired of who she actually has to defend. The two work hard while dreaming of a better life, though tragedy strikes when Mary's involved in a car accident that leaves her in a coma.
Unfortunately, there's some universal manipulation at play here as two rather spiritual beings, Jovi (Victoria Strange) and Lou (Trevor Van Uden), are playing what appears to be a very long game having an undeniable impact on the souls of humans. Lou offers Joey a deal, and it's not a golden fiddle, if Joey will murder three allegedly despicable souls. If he does, Mary will wake up no worse for the wear.
Jovi? Well, you'll just have to watch it for yourself to find out.
As I noted, I was most completely engaged with Jovi & Lou during its most serious moments, though the well-paced 76-minute film certainly has its effective humor. Maurice Tillmon illicits more than a few laughs as Jesus Christ and Jayanti Sharma shines in a brief appearance as Buddha.
Among the key players, Rhys Gillett does a good amount of the film's heavy lifting both in terms of drama and comedy. Victoria Strange dazzles as Jovi as she reels us in long after we've figured out her, well, origin story. The rest of the ensemble is strong, though Jovi & Lou occasionally struggles tonally and some of the bit players had difficulty finding that balance in tone that is so essential in bringing this darkly comical story to life.
Lensing by Don Starnes is effective throughout and Kris Young, a co-producer on the film alongside Spears, contributes art direction that offers the film a dark yet quirky aura that works nicely throughout
Picked up by indie distributor Indie Rights, Jovi & Lou tackles a somewhat familiar storyline but does so with a good degree of freshness and a willingness to go a bit darker than most studios would allow. The indie world is a blast precisely because films like Jovi & Lou can find the audience they deserve.
Would you kill to save a loved one?
Jovi & Lou brings this very question to life in both humorous and surprisingly touching ways. The end result is a cinematic adventure that may not always hit its mark but is a fine example of the indie spirit at work and should please fans of dark comedies with an indie vibe.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic