The sidekick. Whether providing sage advice or being killed in order to spur the hero into action the character of the sidekick has proven invaluable to cinematic history. “Cubist” a short film by John E Brosnan (not to be confused with the science fiction deathtrap in “Cube”) has not one but two sidekicks. The good news is that both sidekicks are funny and effective the bad news is that they are the best part of the film, taking away from the main action.
Ada (Gloria Melendez) is contemplating trashing her ex-boyfriend Ben*s (Carlos Para) apartment with her best friend Gracie (Erin Pakowski) while Ben plans to try and make amends, dragging his best friend Herme (Patrick Nugent) along for the ride. What Ben has done to hurt Ada is never revealed in detail and while an artistic choice on the part of Brosnan the audience never knows how they are supposed to feel. This approach may have been more effective if Ben or Ada were given more to do but all the good lines and energy is given to their friends. Gracie is gung ho for trashing the apartment and attempts to give her friend hints as to how to maximize damage. Herme is entertained by the social awkwardness and brings along a stopwatch just to time how long it will take his friend to utter the L word.
Gracie and Herme come alive for the audience, they are passionate: Gracie for revenge, Herme getting a kick out of his surroundings, but there passion never extends to the leads. This is not the fault of Para or Melendez, the characters they embody are just too depressed to draw the audience in. There is a lot to like in “Cubist” such as the games from the 80’s motif in the apartment and Herme’s stopwatch routine but in the end the central concept suffers compared to its surroundings. Brosnan may want to consider telling this story again but next time switching the focus to Gracie and Herme instead.