Donato De Luca, David Allan Barrera, Paige Steakley, Sarah Chong Harmer
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
David N. Reyes
Movie Review: Texas AF
After a successful journey on the indie/microcinema fest circuit, writer/director David N. Reyes's Texas AF arrives on streaming platforms with Amazon Prime, Reveel, and Tubi currently available and hopefully others soon to follow.
The film follows two college best friends, Flaco (Donato De Luca) and Eddy (David Allan Barrera) whose relationship has reached a crossroads with relationships and world events causing increased tensions between the two and uncertainty about where it all goes from here.
While Texas AF has some semi-serious themes going on, rest assured that this is for the most part a real-life comedy grounded in the natural humor that unfolds in college, in relationships, as relationships start to fracture, and in just plain coming-of-age. The film screened at a number of familiar fests including Austin Revolution Film Festival, Austin Indie Fest, Prison City Film Festival, and a few others. Texas AF is a low-key charmer with solid performances from co-leads De Luca and Barrera playing out nicely the natural tensions that can build as our lives changes and even our relational needs start to branch out. It's fun watching the two work through things, not always successfully, and this breezy little film definitely has its enjoyable, entertaining moments.
On the flip side, I'll confess to having become more than a little agitated as the back-and-forth between the two occasionally felt histrionic and the film's comedy notes were pierced by the tension. It would have been nice, perhaps, to have gotten a little more build-up of the friendship to increase our emotional investment that does manage to get a bit of pay-off toward film's end.
Sarah Chong Harmer also does fine work as Tania and manages to find some nuances despite not really having a whole lot to do. As the elusive Texas Tea, Paige Steakley is an absolute charmer who hits all the right notes. Diana Rose and Alyssia Rivera also shine in supporting roles.
While Reyes's lensing is for the most part straightforward, he accomplishes quite a bit for a low-budget indie and it's not surprising that he continues to find success in the world of independent film.
Comedy is much harder to pull off than one might imagine. For Hollywood, it's a unique combination of comedic skills, precise editing, and chemistry. Texas AF keeps most of the humor rather low-key, sort of an indie version of those old 80's and 90's coming-of-age comedies that many of us remember fondly. The film doesn't always hit its mark, however, with a winning ensemble and an engaging if inconsistent story this is a film worth checking out on your favorite streaming platform!
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic