Anna Lise Phillips, Jill Alexander, Finnegan Haid, Quinn Marcus, Amy Vorpahl, Charles Haid, and Amy Madigan
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
The fine folks at indie distributor Random Media have picked up the award-winning comedy Sensitivity Training, a laugh out loud comedy starring Anna Lise Phillips (Harrow) as Dr. Serena Wolfe, a gifted but extraordinarily abrasive microbiologist forced into a rather extreme course in sensitivity training after she gets the blame for a colleague's unexpected demise.
Serena's sensitivity training comes courtesy of the perpetually perky Caroline (Jill Alexander, Silicon Valley), whose sunny disposition and double doctorates prove to be both the polar opposites to and perfect foil for Serena.
Written and directed by Melissa Finell, Sensitivity Training has been making its way through an extended festival run before being snatched up by Random for its 2/29/18 DVD/VOD and digital release. The first feature film from Finell, the script for Sensitivity Training picked up an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Production Grant and a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award. In its world premiere at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival, the film was named a "Can't Miss" film by Hollywood Reporter.
Sensitivity Training soars on the strength of the quirky yet believable buddy chemistry between the Poehler-esque Anna Lise Phillips and the ultra-charming twist of Tina Fey meets Mister Rogers to be found inside Jill Alexander's Caroline. The two actresses have an irresistible charisma that makes their insensitive behaviors even funnier and their increasingly authentic affection for one another downright endearing. Sensitivity Training has an improvisational thread that seems to weave its way through the film, giving the film a constant freshness that is further aided by Finnegan Haid's appealing turn as Serena's younger brother alongside welcome, but far too brief, appearances by Charles Haid and Amy Madigan.
Finell's script is a delight, still feeling fresh even after a couple years on the festival circuit and maybe even a little more relevant now than it was then. D.P. Paul Cannon lenses the film with a lightness that focuses more on the story than gimmicks, while the film's overall design gives Sensitivity Training a laid back, comfortable quality that makes you kind of wish you could sit down and watch a movie with these two but making sure, of course, to stay until the end.
For more information on Sensitivity Training, visit the Random Media website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic