Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90 minutes
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Zoe (Dana Pupkin) works at the DMV, checking vanity license plates for hidden vulgarity. In her free time, she obsesses over Scrabble and the National Scrabble Championships. Marty (Eric Hailey) is an antisocial department store security guard. In his free time, he contemplates killing himself. On a particularly challenging day for Marty, whereupon he is forced to work out on the floor during the busy day shift, he and Zoe meet and become almost instant friends (Zoe agreeing with Marty’s in-store breakdown and maddened pleas with customers to not buy $55 underwear).
As the days go on, the two eccentrics build an awkward relationship, both filling an empty spot the other has. For Marty, Zoe is slowly giving him a reason to stay alive (and she also gets him a job at the DMV, where his antisocial tendencies fit in perfectly). For Zoe, Marty’s companionship and support helps her self-confidence, and she moves forward with her Scrabble dreams.
Bill Sebastian’s Qwerty is a sweet affair, full of unique and memorable characters that you can’t help but stay engaged with. Marty may be a mess of a damaged human being, and it’s quite possible he smells as bad as he looks, but his heart is in a good place, even if his depressed mind mostly isn’t. Zoe may be awkward and quirky, but she has an air of strength about her that is beyond what she even acknowledges at first. It is little surprise that Marty would find her a powerful love to anchor to, but it is also not surprising that her eclectic tastes and thinking would find him equally as intriguing.
There’s little I found about Qwerty to criticize negatively. I thought the National Scrabble Championships seemed a tad empty for a major competitive event, but what do I know? I’ve never been to anything of the sort, and I’d probably be more surprised if I did go and saw a full crowd than not so… yeah, got nothing, really.
This is really just a fun, entertaining love story that slowly draws you in and holds you tight. Dana Pupkin and Eric Hailey are spectacular in the film, and addictively watchable throughout. A quality film all around.
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Posted on May 4, 2012 in Reviews by Mark Bell
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