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I caught this film during the middle of a Wednesday afternoon (when I should have been working). Though I turned it on as mere background noise, soon I was totally absorbed in it.
Mark is utterly heart-broken when his shallow, self-centered girlfriend breaks up with him. He turns to his equally shallow and self-centered best friend, Lawrence, to help him fill his hours. They drink at the bars while Lawrence picks up chicks. Mark seems totally uninterested. So why does Mark keep choosing to associate with these shallow people? They don't care one iota about him. What will it take for him to wake up and notice? Is Mark to blame for his own predicament? Is he just better off alone? I don't think so. He needs people, even if they aren't the best for him. He's just human. Very, very human.
After the break-up, the main character, Mark, also returns to the comfort of his childhood home and finds that his father is not treating him quite the same way anymore, now that he's all grown-up. Mark reacts much like a moody teenager would: He sleeps all the time... barely leaves his room, never communicates with his P's, hardly eats or bathes... He's getting under his dad's skin. What's wrong with the boy? Is Mark just plain lazy (as Dad suspects)? Or is he totally depressed (as Lawrence tells the girls in his pick-up line... "Meet my friend Mark. He's dark and suicidal.")? Dividing his time between writing the most god-awful screenplays and letting Lawrence attempt to mend his wounded male ego, all the while drinking far too much, Mark continues to wallow in self-pity and lack direction.
Of course we can all see that Lawrence is trying to turn Mark into something he's not. And *blecht!* Mark is just not good at writing movies! Mark is a deep, sensitive man trying to fit into a superficial world. And that's what makes this film work for me. It is funny (often in a dark comedy way) and very soulful.
Why is the movie called "Free" ? Well, you'll have to wait until the end of the movie to find out. Three people (3) and something else (an example of which is called "Free") are suddenly realized by Mark. If you pay close attention, you'll notice that these things have ALL been there the whole time for Mark -- he just didn't notice any of them until the end. Did you?
I hope these writers and director continue down this path and do more for us. Wonderful plot, writing, acting, cast, direction... everything was great! Well... the stunt sucked. You know the one... Falling into a table shouldn't look so put on and fake. But, I promise, that is my lonely ONLY criticism!
Wow! I loved it!
(Just a side note: Immediately I recognized the main character from the TV series, "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" but I spent the whole rest of the movie trying to figure out where the heck I saw the "Lawrence" actor before. Remember that gem of a movie called For Keeps? Well, he was "Stan" to Molly Ringwald's "Darcy.")
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