SUNNYVALE

4 Stars
Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 78 minutes
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This is an anti-romantic comedy that will appeal to almost everyone who hates movies starring Hugh Grant. It is funny, raunchy and kind of sexy. It works in so many ways, and stumbles in others, but it is something that should be seen by anyone who has ever been dragged to “In Her Shoes.”

“Opie” and “Farm Boy” are the nicknames given to the main character of this film (played by writer/director James Ricardo). He’s a self-proclaimed loser who lives rent-free in his uncle’s apartment. He spends his days eating cheeseburgers, pizza and doughnuts; playing video games; and watching porn. It’s an almost ideal life … except the only sex he’s having is with himself. Enter Thai (April Wade), an extremely attractive pot dealer who comes to Opie’s apartment under the impression that it’s the home of her overweight prostitute girlfriend. Thai takes some pity on Opie’s mundane life and tries to help him land a date. Soon Opie’s having sex with Thai; Thai’s lesbian lover, Dakota (Ute Werner); a woman named Rain (Jesselynn Desmond) who works at an adult bookstore; and his porn-loving neighbor Brandi (Samantha Turk). The women are fine with the arrangement until they learn about Brandi. That’s when Opie pushes a good thing to the breaking point.

The film has a few negatives. Every conversation seems like it’s full of one-liners and dialogue that’s a little too clever. It works well in small chunks, but even “Clerks” had awkward moments dialogue-wise. Otherwise, it’s how people talk, and that’s a good thing. The other negative, and this problem can be easily fixed, is that someone can be heard giving the actors directions off-camera at one point in the film. Not a huge problem, but it is one that needs correcting.

The positives? The dialogue, while a little too slick, is really kind of erotic and funny because it is so open. The actors are another plus. Ricardo goes through the first half of the film with about two expressions on his face. It’s obvious that he’s very comfortable with this life he’s existing in while waiting for death. And Wade? My God, what a find. She needs to be in more films ASAP. She’s got the acting down, and her looks and mannerisms just draw you in. If the movie only centered on these two characters it would’ve been fine. In fact, most viewers will probably want Opie to see Thai exclusively. You grow to care about them that much.

“Sunnyvale” is as humorous as it is titillating. And while it is an anti-romantic comedy, it still feels like a date movie. It’s time for Hugh Grant to find a new job, and this is proof.



Posted on April 6, 2006 in Reviews by
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