NOW ON VOD! Director and co-writer Miles Doleac presents a sex comedy with heart in his indie outing Open. The title refers to the marriage between Robert (played by Doleac) and his wife Kristina (Lindsay Anne Williams, Doleac’s real-life wife and co-writer). They’ve opened their relationship sexually to see if that could reinvigorate the romantic spark lost over time after the trauma of miscarriage. While they are allowed to have sex with other people, the ground rules specify no sleepovers. Kristina promptly breaks this rule after she gets drunk and hooks up with aging television actor Erik (Jeremy London), who was her heartthrob crush when she was a teen. Robert is not entirely comfortable with this arrangement but has his own sexy time with his friend Emma (Elena Sanchez). The married couple seems to have a strong bond, but the decision to open the marriage will test them and throw everyone around them into a crisis.
When Kristina turns up pregnant and not entirely sure who the father is, the story sets off on a road that takes a dark turn. Erik seems incredibly congenial; he even volunteers with a dog rescue, but this is the public facade of an unstable narcissist who sees in Kristina a way to revisit his youth. He believes he can rewind the clock and have a healthy relationship and a family with her. Of course, this is not what Kristina intends to do. Emma’s father is in law enforcement, and when the situation spirals out of control, Captain Steadman (William Forsythe) gets involved to help. Kristina’s friends and Erik’s agent, John (Yohance Myles), are also pressed into service when Kristina goes missing, and everyone suspects Erik. Kristina processes these crazy events in her life through a recurring dream/fantasy of being the lead singer of an 80’s glam band. The viewer is treated to absurd and entertaining musical interludes consisting of songs where Kristina sings her feelings about what’s happening.
“…Open has a playful, dangerously erotic vibe…”
Open is a weird little film, to be sure. Tonally, it’s all over the place. The first act’s pacing is slow and awkward and struggles to get going. The third act goes unexpectedly dark and violent. Production quality overall is rustic at best. The interstitial visits by the MTV Video-ready imaginary band are random and jarring. Yet, for all that, the film works primarily due to the heroic and relatable performances. Doleac and Williams have real chemistry, as one would expect from a married couple. London is the perfect mix of smarmy and vulnerable. He is best remembered for his turn in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats, which has been a long time ago now. That “used-to-be-kinda-famous”‘ vibe hits close to home and is maybe a little too authentic in this case…but he’s always had a great screen presence, and his performance as Erik is solidly everything it should be. Another saving grace, It’s not going too far to say, is that Open has a playful, dangerously erotic vibe… they are screwing around, are they swingers? Are they having a good time? Should we try that? The cast is all attractive, making it more fun for viewers to live this spicy dream vicariously.
The fantasy band performances really seal the deal for Open. The cast plays rock and roll instruments in garish costumes and make-up. Even stodgy, straight-edge-looking William Forsyth throws himself into it, and they all seem to be having great fun doing it. Kristina sings her angst, and the band functions as the Greek chorus, commenting on the film’s melodrama.
Open is a sexy romp and an adventure with a message that says normality isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be and that relationships, as well as families, come in all varieties. The same is true of indie films, and this one tries it all on for your entertainment.
"…a sex comedy with heart..."