MODERN LOVE IS AUTOMATIC

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 93 minutes
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Lorraine Schultz (Melodie Sisk) wants to humiliate you. She wants to tie you up, choke you with chains, and make you brush your teeth with the brush you just cleaned the toilet with. At least that what she thinks she wants. Moonlighting as a sunglass-donning dominatrix, Lorraine takes a stab at entrepreneurship as she puts out an ad for her services, which include everything listed above and more. Her day job, working as a nurse, is just about the most humdrum occupation imaginable. What’s worse than waiting on the patients is putting up with her co-workers, who have an incessant need to talk one another (and to Lorraine) even when it’s clear that she could care less.

Adrian Davis (Maggie Ross), an aspiring model, graduated at the top of her class. Her modeling school class, that is. Chipper, full of hope, and cute as a button, Adrian enters the “real world” fully prepared to accept all of the great stuff life’s going to throw her way. However, by Minute One it becomes abundantly clear to the viewer that things might not turn out as well as she intends them to. It’s a shame that she can’t see what we see. Adrian moves in with Lorraine and swears that they’re going to be the “best roommates ever!!!” even though the two appear to share very few common interests.

If anyone’s going to take credit for this movie, it’s Zack Clark. The twenty-seven year old not only directed the picture, he also signed on as writer, producer, and editor. A peculiar project, “Modern Love is Automatic” deals with taboo subjects with a sophisticated approach that never deviates into the quirkiness of other films dealing with fetishism and uncommon sexual practices. Instead, the absolute mundaneness of both daily life and those taboo subjects are captured. Even riding across a motel room on a man’s back while he wears a baby bib and a ball gag can get pretty boring after a while.

When making a film about boredom, one runs the risk of making a. . . boring film. Luckily, Clark avoids this pitfall by splitting the narrative in two, telling each roommate’s story separately. One of the film’s flaws, however, is that Adrian’s story is much more interesting than the main character’s. Lorraine is off-putting and requires quite a bit of effort for viewers to invest in her. Her roommate, however, has clear motivations and goals to which the viewer can relate. If the point of the film was to comment on how ordinary life is, including even its taboo aspects, then crafting a character (and maybe Ross’ performance should be credited for this) who is extremely likable and anything but boring wasn’t the right way to go.



Posted on March 16, 2009 in Reviews by
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