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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Take Care - A Film Review

Take Care is a 2014 romantic comedy written and directed by Liz Tuccillo, and starring Leslie Bibb and Thomas Sadoski. The film is a charming and offbeat romantic comedy, about a fairly simple story about an injured woman who gets her ex-boyfriend to care for her out of payback for her nursing him during his cancer.

Frannie (Bibb) is a woman who is recovering after getting hit by a car, with a broken right arm and left leg. She is house-bound, stuck in a fourth-floor walk-up, and while she has her friend and sister for occasional help, she is often struggling on her own to make a meal, go to the bathroom, or just get around her home in general. She says of her friends’ appearances to help, “Sure, here and there, when they can fit me in. But I’m not anyone’s priority.” She can be childish, and is described as “dramatic” by her ex-boyfriend, but Bibb is likable and charming in her performance, so that overrides the immaturity of the character.

Frannie often feels lonely in her home and needs more consistent help, so she resorts to contacting her ex-boyfriend, who her friends have called “The Devil” for dumping her after Frannie took care of him for two years while he had colon cancer.  Thomas Sadoski as Devon delivers a good performance, but Devon is an unlikeable character like Frannie. He is bland and dull, and often has a wishy-washy attitude when it comes to both Frannie and his jealous girlfriend Jodi (Betty Gilpin). While he knows that he “owes” Frannie for what she did for him, he often seems awkward and unsure of himself throughout the movie, and doesn’t have much of an attractive personality to justify why either woman would be interested in him.

Through this arrangement, Devon regularly comes to Frannie’s apartment to buy her groceries (he had recently gotten $6 million for a software deal with Yahoo), cook her dinner, take her to the doctor, wash her hair, and spend time with her watching T.V. Her favorite show is Law & Order, and there is a fun running joke with Frannie and the reruns. “I can see the murder in the first minute and I know who did it . . . it calms me somehow.” Those moments are some of the highlights of the film, which has an otherwise thin script.

There is an entertaining subplot with Frannie’s neighbor, a guy who blasts dance music in his apartment and does CrossFit. He often is dragged into Frannie’s life, whether it is carrying her up the stairs or her making him come over to make a sandwich for her, and so forth. He is a normal guy who wants to be left alone, and doesn’t want anything to do with her problems. “When someone asks me to do them a favor, it feels like they’re sucking air out of my lungs, like they’re trying to steal my life.” His aggravation with Frannie’s self-involved drama is often a funny diversion from the main plot, and showing an entirely different life outside of Frannie’s world.

Jodi is often made the villain of the film, and her jealousy and own neediness often makes her more of a caricature, rather than a woman who has every right to be uncomfortable with her boyfriend spending a lot of private time nursing his ex-girlfriend back to health. Gilpin delivers a good performance, but her character is definitely made to be over-the-top in her whininess.

The movie is light and fun to watch, mostly because Bibb and Sadoski has a nice chemistry together as exes and burgeoning cordial friends. Even though the outcome of their relationship is predictable, the scenes where they are bonding over his cooking and her love of Law & Order are warm and nice to watch, like seeing old friends reconnecting. It is a movie that would work as a one-hour play, as most of the action takes place in Frannie’s apartment, and the actors seem mostly suited to working in theater and television. It is a nice movie, not great, but pleasant to watch for an offbeat romantic comedy.

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