Wild Girl Waltz – A Step In The Right Direction

I say this a lot, but the most brilliant films are always birthed from the simplest of ideas, whether it’s mutant genealogy or a murder seen from multiple perspectives. On the other hand, some of the worst are the product of overly complex thought; panicked and desperate attempts to befuddle and impress audiences, resulting in plot twists and spoilers that leave us confused and queasy. Wild Girl Waltz almost succeeds in proving my point, in that one of the better things about the film as a whole is the simplicity of its plot, which gives it a charming, amiable feel that would’ve been lost had it have been any more complex. The problem, however, with Wild Girl Waltz is that it is only almost a good film birthed from a simple idea, and the overall result of its simplicity, coupled with a low budget, poor editing and patchy acting is an amateur flick that feels half finished, and – as terrible as it feels to say – one that could’ve really used some mainstream influence – both in performance and post production efforts.

I know. I’m sorry.

Directed by Mark Lewis (Baystate Blues, 2009), and starring (and almost entirely comprising solely of) Christina Shipp, Samantha Steinmetz and Jared Stern, the film follows two bored best friends who, after a bad morning, decide to liven up their empty day by taking some questionable pills, the effects of which they are unsure of and vary according to which one they choose to take. As the drugs take hold they are joined by a third person who, as brother of one and fiancé of the other, quickly becomes babysitter to both. What ensues is an afternoon of idiocy and embarrassment, with the occasional moment of emotional poignancy thrown in for good measure. And a turtle.

The premise for the film is full of potential, as simple plot lines focusing on a-day-in-the-life-on-drugs tend to be, and yet the construction of the characters leaves the audience less living vicariously through the women’s recklessness, and more sharing in the responsibility of the man who is acting as designated driver. In short, any voyeuristic involvement at all makes you feel like the token sober person at the party, surrounded by revellers partaking in a night of pill-popping, drink-downing and teeth-grinding that you can’t be involved in. And no one likes being that guy, not least because it forces you to realise how irritating people in that state are when, for whatever reason, you are not. In this sense, the film succeeds brilliantly. The girls, when drugged, make for wholly infuriating viewing, and despite a performance that is wooden and artificial overall, Stern’s moments of anger and exhaustion in the face of them are convincing and empathy inducing.

Though one could argue that it would’ve been wiser, and more entertaining, to have indulged more deeply into the addled minds of the girls, rather than witness it from a detached distance, it isn’t without its moments of slapstick fun and sweet romance.

No, Wild Girl Waltz isn’t a write-off. It is just…half baked.

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