SXSW FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! There’s a question inherent in the plot synopsis of Recovery: how exactly does one go about making a road trip comedy set in and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic? Well, if you happen to be directors Stephen Meek and Mallory Everton, who co-wrote the script with Whitney Call, the answer is as quirky and funny as humanly possible.
During her 30th birthday in February, Jamie (Whitney Call) tells Blake (Mallory Everton) how excited she is for an upcoming trip to Disney World with their Nana (Anne Sward Hansen) and that she really feels like she’s crushed this whole adult thing by investing. Blake is happy for her sister and proceeds to tell Jamie about a truly amazing date she just went on.
“Jamie and Blake resolve to drive the 20 hours to save Nana from the nursing home…”
Cut to two weeks later, and the coronavirus pandemic has made the whole world come to a stop. The sisters have a decent routine down, but Jamie is feeling the pressure of online teaching, and Blake is frustrated about being stuck indoors. Then, they receive a letter from Nana’s nursing home, informing them of a COVID outbreak there. Being several states away, they quickly call their eldest sister, Erin (Julia Jolley), who is only a few minutes from the nursing home. Unfortunately, Erin and her husband are on a cruise because the rates were “too good to pass up.”
Jamie and Blake resolve to drive the 20 hours to save Nana from the nursing home, only stopping for the absolute essentials. Along the way, they dance, they are informed what mouse afterbirth smells like, and meet (socially distant, of course) an array of strange people whose lack of social interaction during lockdown has only increased their oddness.
The broad strokes of Recovery are made up of the usual tropes one find’s in a road trip comedy: kooky characters, unexpected and outrageous obstacles (they need to track down Nana’s dog) that deviate from the initial quest, and certain character moments are easy enough to guess; I know how vague that sounds, but I don’t want to spoil anything more than necessary. As the finale approaches, Jamie is told some information, but its resolution is already a forgone conclusion. If that still doesn’t make sense, I am sorry.
"…how exactly does one go about making a road trip comedy set in and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic?"