Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 9 minutes
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The Package is one of those easy to like short films. It’s low budget without being cheap, simple without being simpleminded, hip without being hipster, talky without being boring, funny without forcing it’s humor, and to top it off it has a neat little comedic twist at the end that works. True, it’s basically a nine minute setup for a single punchline, but when you’ve seen as many super low budget movies as I have you start to appreciate the little kindnesses afforded by clever and competent filmmakers.
The setup is that a secretary receives a strange pink package for one of the businessmen at her office building, and everyone starts to wonder what it might be. The box is kind of phallic looking and something inside has the odd tendency to vibrate. So it’s probably not a flashlight that makes a buzzing sound so you can find it in the dark.
Watching a short film is sort of like getting a haircut at a beauty school. Everyone is usually still learning how to do their job so you occasionally have the tip of an ear sliced off by a horrified and apologetic seventeen year old, but that’s okay because you’re not asking them to be perfect or anything. You just bandage yourself up as best as you can, clean up the blood, and pat yourself on the back for having saved ten bucks. Because, hey… ten bucks!
Take the acting in The Package, for example. The actors are fine, but other than the girl who plays the secretary, they seem a little inexperienced, and you can tell none of them had a ton of takes to work with. There’s usually no time when you’re filming these things. So there’s the occasional clunk here and there. I’m good with that though. It’s like how your eyes adjust to the dimness inside your house after spending all day outside. It’s a completely unconscious thing, and after a while you start to wonder why you even noticed it in the first place. The same goes for the pacing. While I admire how the film takes it’s time and sets everything up just so, it feels a bit wrong, and a more energetic approach to the material probably would have worked better. Humor is all about timing and here it’s a little off, not by much, but it’s noticeable. I always felt that you should be able to snap your fingers along with the jokes, and here you can only tap along with your foot. Okay, that was crappy analogy…
What I mean is that all the film’s jokes last one second too long here, or cut out a second too early there. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but in the mercenary world of comedy when one quarter of a second is an eternity, it shows.
However, ignore these minor quibbles because I wrote them more for the sake of the filmmakers than for potential viewers. The Package isn’t supposed to be an award winning short. It’s supposed to be lighthearted and fun. We all remember fun, don’t we? It’s that thing we used to have before the internet made everyone into a sarcastic contrarian that trashes everything and everyone, when watching movies was a treat instead of a chore. I’ve never been soft on a movie in my life, not everyone should get a trophy for participating. At the same time, you also got to give things a chance. Not everything has to be note perfect and knock you out of your chair every single time. If this short had been twenty minutes long instead of nine I’d be writing a very different review, but its nine minutes. There are commercials for feminine hygiene products out there that last longer than this.
Also, don’t mistake anything I’ve said here to mean that I don’t feel there’s any talent behind or in front of the camera. That isn’t what I mean at all, far from it. Everyone involved – especially Sarah Nadeau, who plays the secretary – did a fine job and learned some valuable lessons, all while entertaining us. The only way to learn how to be great is to start by being good, and this is pretty damn good. So I’m eager to see what they do next.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.
Posted on June 20, 2014 in Reviews by Jeremy Knox
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