Total Male Fantasy No. 10 Image

Total Male Fantasy No. 10

By Bradley Gibson | March 22, 2023

Director-writer David Lawler presents an indie rom-com that lures you in and spins you around like a record in Total Male Fantasy No. 10. Tommy (Alex Saltz) is a low-energy archetype of the lovable loser. He’s an unambitious man-child who rides a unicycle everywhere and tends to repeat questions back to people when he doesn’t know the answer. And that is always. Think Dante in Clerks.

In contrast, Tommy’s girlfriend, Alex (Sarah Misch), is a dedicated and ambitious United States Army soldier. She tells him that she has been assigned to return to Afghanistan. A huge fight follows the news of her deployment, during which Tommy insists Alex must stay with him. A few weeks after she leaves, he’s still heard nothing from her and concludes she’s ghosted him. So he begins to cast about among the women in his life for companionship. He is close friends with Angie (Geraldine Dulex) and her daughter Sammy (Regan Lawler). He looks after Sammy sometimes, and with Alex gone, he and Angie drift into an ersatz relationship that is eventually consummated and becomes real.

“…Tommy starts sleeping with Donna but continues to sleep with Angie, they all decide it would be more convenient to cohabitate.”

Enter Donna (Meredith Sweeney), another extraordinarily attractive woman who confesses her long-time love for Tommy. This is where we start wandering off into “total male fantasy” space that will make you ask, to quote John Cusack from High Fidelity: “How does an average guy like me become the number one lover-man in his particular postal district? He’s grumpy, he’s broke…” It’s a fair question throughout Total Male Fantasy No. 10.

When Tommy starts sleeping with Donna but continues to sleep with Angie, they all decide it would be more convenient to cohabitate. The trio brings Sammy to a communal space, making a little family with Tommy at the center. So now the situation is set, and the questions begin crashing on the shore like waves. Is this arrangement sustainable? Are they participating in a glorious attempt at meaningful adult polyamory, complete with ethical non-monogamy? Or, is Tommy the same rudderless shitheel he always was, with the lady grown-ups in the room tolerating him?

Mostly, though, we are left to wonder if achieving the titular male fantasy (holy crap, what do one through nine look like, if this is ten?) will result in Tommy transforming into a healthy, self-actualized adult? Of course, the Sword of Damocles hanging over them all is Alex. Is she coming back from Afghanistan? If so, when and what will happen when she learns what’s going on?

Total Male Fantasy No. 10 (2021)

Directed and Written: David Lawler

Starring: Alex Saltz, Meredith Sweeney, Geraldine Dulex, Regan Lawler, Sarah Misch, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Total Male Fantasy No. 10 Image

"…could go wrong in many cringe-inducing ways..."

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