Karis Yanike, Mark Booker, Mary Douglass, Pete Lipins
"Way To Go, Christine!" Review
Christine (Karis Yanike) is a 20-something young woman who is seemingly wasting away inside the confining walls of an office cubicle, her days spent largely under the microscope of a controlling, Office Space type boss (Mark Booker) who watches her every move.
Boy, can Christine move!
Christine lives for those 15-minute moments of bliss called "breaks," during which she runs down to the local liquor store, grabs a 40 oz. of malt liquor and high tails it back to the office.
Set to the rhythm of a lively and energetic original score by Greg Kincheloe with a rather delightful song by Natalie Illeana, Way to Go, Christine takes writer/director Mark Thimijan down a different path from his most recent full-length feature, Barstool Cowboy, a more serious yet similarly themed film about the twists and turns of finding meaning in the everyday moments of life and the connections we make. In the case of Way to Go, Christine, this young woman who quickly gains our sympathy at the hands of a young whippersnapper of a boss who seems like he's ready to pounce on her every mistake. When he finally does pounce, Booker oozing snideness through every pore of his body, it's hard to not want to hug Christine even if her 15-minute jaunts for alcohol don't exactly make sense.
Suspension of belief is a required ingredient for appreciating Way to Go, Christine, along with a willingness to accept the idea of a boss who seems more concerned with watching the clock than the fact that his employee is coming back from those breaks under the influence of alcohol. If you've ever worked in a cubicle, it's completely believable. You could probably sit on the edge of your cubicle snorting a line of coke as long as the work is done and you're there at your assigned time.
The absurdity of it all works because of the weathered yet appealing performance of Karis Yanike as Christine, portrayed as a young woman whose 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. breaks appear to be the most satisfying parts of her day. There's a certain sadistic glee on Christine's face as she runs to and from the liquor store, balanced with the complete resignation her body wears as she slouches in her cubicle.
It would be hard to say that Booker's performance is as appealing but, then again, his character isn't exactly appealing. Booker sort of feels like Gary Cole peering over a cubicle in his condescending manner with looks that say far more than any words could possibly say.
Thimijan, also responsible for the film's camera work, gives the film a fast-paced look with shots that are as frenzied as is Christine's running. While this occasionally causes a bit of a jarring sensation, it generally fits the action quite nicely and works quite well.
Way to Go, Christine possesses an undeniable quirky charm, a unique take on the old story of life between those cubicle walls. Currently starting off its festival run, Way to Go, Christine, should be showing up in comedy shorts collections quite soon!