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By Rory L. Aronsky | April 2, 2005

“Cruel to be Kind” is an unpleasant and shrill foray into a marriage that looks like its beyond help, with a couple (director/writer/producer Jesse Kaye, and Melissa Canter) that really hasn’t grasped the meaning of a relationship, or maybe even grasp any concept of marriage that could actually make this worthwhile.

Privacy is the key issue here as Jennifer heads into the bathroom to ask her husband Lonnie how her outfit looks. In a failed attempt to extenuate the point of needing the utmost privacy when taking a dump, director/actor Kaye resorts to the usual “naked behind a newspaper” gag and blows up at Jennifer, which ends up looking like amateur overacting. These two do not know subtlety all that well, that hilarity can be found in a quieter way of acting. In essence, it’s like having a full-on view into the lives of the couple next door, but there’s nothing really worth grabbing on to. She starts yelling about earning the money between both of them so he can pursue whatever it is he does, and he and his T-Bird get stranded somewhere, and he ends up walking all the way back to the house. By now, the drill of this is easily known. During the time when he’s stranded, and he finds his wallet empty, Lonnie isn’t smart enough to try the one thing that could have saved this: Phone in about a stolen credit card. Maybe then this short could have found entertaining salvation.

“Cruel to be Kind” doesn’t benefit either from disjointed cinematography and part of Lonnie’s stranding inexplicably filmed behind a fence. It’s not a marriage worth watching.

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