I have to say, sometimes reviewing opportunities come at you from unexpected oblique angles. The offer by “Flip” director/editor Carleton Torpin to view and rate this release came about because of a review I did of another movie for LauraHird.com, a Scottish literary website I write for. Torpin read my review of the movie (which shall remain nameless)(oh, alright, it was “Clerks 2”)(only hope Torpin doesn’t have to work with Kevin Smith one day) and sent me “Flip” because he had found my “Clerks 2” review to be honest and “psychologically engaging,” whatever that means. You have to hand it to the guy: I can get pretty intolerant and no-nonsense in my scribbling, and he was offering me his neck for the potential chopping block, which could be seen as either very brave or very stupid. Or maybe even a combo of both.
“Flip” plays on an age-old nightmare that every single single guy has had at one time or another: waking up from a drinking binge in Las Vegas married to somebody you barely know. This happens to our intrepid main male protagonist Aldo (Jarrod Weintraub), who is in Sin City on a business trip – he gets ripped with female coworker Jennifer (Rebecca Seubert – both leads give ample, if not stellar, performances) and wakes up with a hangover and a new bride. What a daymare. Things then progress through some poignancy (Jennifer tells Aldo she has defended him from people at work speaking ill of him, which of course annoys him to learn that he has been spoken about negatively in the first place) and annoying ‘postmodern’ (ie ‘stupid’) self-conscious Kevin Williamson-inspired riffing about doing monologues in movies, to a not particularly satisfying conclusion involving a ‘flip’ of a poker chip.
And that’s “Flip” in a nutshell, pretty much. In the liner notes, Torpin says that he basically wants the short to function as a film school primer to explain aspects of short filmmaking and inspire other filmmakers to make their own stuff. To this end he includes six hours(!) of extras: commentary tracks, a storyboard track, a deleted scene, a production diary, pre-production, production and post-production featurettes, photo galleries, cast and crew bios.and another funny wee short he made spoofing killer robot films called “Robot Trouble.” Which I preferred entertainment-wise than “Flip,” to be perfectly honest, and I think it would make a great feature because Torpin can obviously write this sort of goofy comedy well, making me laugh out loud several times during the short running time.
Apart from that, well, it’s difficult to really have much to say about “Flip.” It’s pretty bland, but definitely well made. I will say this. If Torpin thinks that somebody like me, who has never wanted to be a filmmaker, is going to sit and watch 16 TIMES the length of the short itself in extras, he’s sadly mistaken. I would MAYBE do it for a movie I really loved or was connected to, but not for a so-so short. Having said that, what little I did watch of the extras showed that the man clearly does know what he’s doing when it comes to directing, and I’m sure that wannabe-filmmakers could maybe glean some interesting factoids from the endless reams of extras material presented. I am not the best person to comment on that aspect of things, but even cynical, skeptical me finds it difficult to believe that you can pass on years of film school knowledge in six short long hours (then again, judging by the work of many filmmakers these daze, that may not be far from the truth. So Torpin can direct, and I guess this is his calling card to the industry. Enough said.