Indie comedies are a mixed bag. I just finished watching David Haskell’s The Outdoorsman, and I question whether I would call it a comedy. Which honestly isn’t a bad thing. Ultimately execution is everything. It’s more like a light drama with relatable characters, good lead performances, humorous situations and topped off with syrupy sweetness.
The Outdoorsman stars Brent Morin (Undatable) as Jason, a writer who’s about to embark on a one-year “off-the-grid” adventure in the outdoors of Northern California and Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live) as Mona, a businesswoman, whose laid out a clear path in becoming an executive director at her company.
“…a writer who’s about to embark on a one-year “off-the-grid” adventure in the outdoors of Northern California…”
But ambition is not everything. Jason has been talking himself into this trip, while believing his own hype that he’s a true outdoorsman like his father was before he died. He’s made numerous attempts to live this ideal self but has always found a reason to either quit or put off the dream. So much so that his girlfriend Carol (Spencer Grammer) leaves him over his indecisiveness in life. Mona, on the other hand, overthinks everything in life, including what it takes to get her promotion. When it doesn’t happen, she quits out of frustration feeling she’s underappreciated at work.
Jason temporarily moves in with his friend Blake (Rick Glassman) while he trains for his extended adventure. His neighbor happens to be Mona, and in a chance meeting in the laundry room, Jason invites Mona for dinner at Blake’s apartment, and it ends in a sexual encounter.
“…solid is its story along with exceptional characterizations from its leads.”
As far as a comedy goes, The Outdoorsman has humorous moments and situations with an occasional chortle. Mona’s feigned meltdown to get fired from her firm and Jason’s survival training with a homeless veteran are good examples of the film’s fun. Real enjoyment, though, comes from Morin and Zamata’s performances. Both give their characters charm and likability that holds your attention to the end. Also, we know people like Jason and Mona, or worse, we are them allowing us to effectively connect with these characters.
Jason and Mona are also opposites in the way they approach living life. Jason is spontaneous, and Mona is well-ordered. The feel-good moments of the film are seeing these two opposites attempt to balance each other out. Well, more like these two opposites resist taking on the other’s traits. The idea that opposites attract been a staple of romantic-comedies from the very beginning of time.
The Outdoorsman is a good movie and sure to please fans of either Brent Morin or Sasheer Zamata. Also, solid is its story along with exceptional characterizations from its leads. Writer Ryan Dee Gilmour never lets the comedic moments allow the story from getting away from him. The final product is fun and feel-good. Perfect for a relaxing date night evening.
The Outdoorsman (2018) Directed by David Haskell. Written by Ryan Dee Gilmour. Starring Brent Morin, Sasheer Zamata, Spencer Grammer, Rick Glassman, Kit Dennis.
6.5 out of 10 stars