IfS1m0n3 and Ruby Sparks had a baby who really loved getting high, it would be The Second Age Of Aquarius. Written by Darren Smith and director Staci Layne Wilson, the outlandish comedy stars Christina Jacquelyn Calph as Alberta, a coder who is creating celebrity avatars. Shortly after learning that her beloved grandma has passed away, she puts the finishing touches on her most personal avatar, Russell Aquarius (Michael Ursu).
The 1970s music legend died at age 27, but Alberta’s grandma loved his music and passed that passion on to her granddaughter. As Alberta goes to sleep for the night, something unexpected and magical happens — Russell materializes as a corporal being! Understandably, Alberta is confused and delighted by this turn of events but quickly learns there is a colossal snag: Russell believes he is in the middle of a terrible trip, and nothing the coder says can convince him otherwise.
The Second Age Of Aquarius overcomes its obvious limited resources by being set in one location and limiting the cast to a handful of people. Obviously, there is Alberta and Russell, but there is also Alberta’s ridiculous mother Tawny (Brooke Lewis Ballas), her evil co-worker Julio (Richard Trejo), and landlady Helen (Nancy Long). Plus, in order to truly understand the A.I. version of the deceased rocker, Alberta contacts his former manager, Sid (Martin Olson). These characters are mostly heard through phone calls or video chats.
“…believes he is in the middle of a terrible trip, and nothing the coder says can convince him otherwise.”
Such a choice allows for Wilson to really focus on the two leads, as it should be. Alberta is the heart of the story, with her passion for Russell’s music and her love of her grandma felt in every scene. Calph creates a sensitive and likable protagonist whose frustrations with Russell are understandable. Her dedication to preserving and keeping her creation alive also makes total sense.
As the temperamental, demanding musician Ursu is a joy. Even when the character is being misogynistic or an idiot, the actor never crosses into malice, so he remains likable. Ballas gets some huge laughs as the nosy, self-centered mom, while Olson’s brief appearance is very memorable and fun.
The Second Age Of Aquarius also gets a lot of mileage out of its creative editing and use of special effects. While no one will claim that the effects are the best ever, the filmmaker uses them well, and their eye-catching colors fit the overall atmosphere. The editing, specifically when Russell attempts to leave the apartment or his code is being messed with, is really crazy and adds a boost of energy.
The Second Age Of Aquarius is a fun, slightly oddball story. Thanks to the actors and screenplay, the outlandish premise is easy to buy into, while the characters are enormously entertaining. So if you are in need of a laugh, give this a go.
Visit the official site for The Second Age Of Aquarius for more information.
"…gets a lot of mileage out of its creative editing..."