Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.
Enjoyable, if flawed, directing/writing debut from Jeff Anderson
We've all been there. We've all been in the situation where either us or one of our friends has broken up with someone they've been with for a pretty significantly long time. "Now You Know", the writing and directing debut from Jeff Anderson, better known perhaps as Randal from the "Clerks" films, deals with a familiar situation but through characters and settings which we don't see much in Hollywood films. The movie is well-intentioned, it's aiming to capture the same sort of relaxed, conversational tone a Kevin Smith film has, with significantly fewer raunchy gags. The movie is a romantic comedy, but even though everything turns out fine for the characters, it's still not easy getting there, and the movie's not nearly as predictable as most rom-coms, so it's pretty enjoyable overall.
The reason "Now You Know" failed to end up being a movie I can wholeheartedly recommend is that it's not really significantly funnier or significantly more enjoyable than spending a day with a friend after a situation like the one depicted in this film occurs. In fact, it's almost exactly like that. Kevin Smith can write movies where the dialogue reminds you almost word-for-word of conversations you have had, particularly if you've worked the sort of jobs his characters have done, and have similar interests, but what I realize now is that Smith's movies consist entirely of the best sort of real-life conversations. You would have to have had an insanely good day to have it reflect the events of a Kevin Smith movie. With "Now You Know", Jeff Anderson follows a fairly similar formula to Smith's work, which is why I'm mentioning Smith as much as I am. The problem with this movie is that while it has some of those wonderful conversations, it also has a lot of the sort of conversations you wouldn't bother remembering. As a slice of real life, it absolutely works, but there needs to be something else there, and I guess I was never invested in any characters here outside of Jeremy, our lead male character.
Another issue I had with the film was the depiction of women. I wouldn't say the movie was misogynist at all, but it plays like something a man who hasn't been around women much thinks they act in private. While the male conversations and those between females and males ring true, the dialogue between the lead two female characters feels stilted and expository.
Still, the movie is ultimately enjoyable perhaps because it captures the experience the characters are going through so genuinely. Also, Jeff Anderson appears to have a natural talent when it comes to directing, as his small-scale, low-budget first film looks as good as most bigger-budget romantic comedies. Credit to the DP too I suppose. The movie doesn't look great, but considering its budget it's not bad. There's some naff acting as well, I suppose, but the cast are ultimately believable and anyone who has any interest at all in Jeff Anderson should probably see this movie. I don't think it's a great debut, but it's promising enough and I'd find myself looking forward to anything he does in the future.
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