With a bullying wife, status-obsessed parents and a job as a tax accountant, Marty (Marc Steele) is barely surviving an unhappy life. When his boss Bob (Paul Glazier) invites him out to the latest play starring Bob’s girlfriend Sylvia (Erin McGarry), Marty doesn’t really want to attend but his wife Trisha (Lisamarie Harrison) thinks it would be good for his career. The unexpected happens, however, when Marty connects with the play, and decides he wants to act too.
The lack of understanding from Trisha prompts Marty to leave home, shacking up with Bob as he pursues his newfound dream of acting, in this instance landing a role alongside Sylvia. Of course, the emotionally raw Marty finds himself attracted to his new co-star, and it doesn’t help that Bob is a horrible boyfriend (and boss). There’s conflict brewing, but there’s also a play to perform.
By the time Marc Steele’s Future Perfect wraps up, (almost) everyone has undergone personal growth of one form or another. It’s not a film about the love of acting, or the allure of the stage, as much as it is the story of a man lost in his life, seeking to find a new way along. Is it a mid-life crisis, or a life-saving decision? The answer changes depending on who you ask.
For Marty, it’s about re-discovering himself after years of being suppressed in one way or another. It goes back beyond his marriage, as his parents pushed him to be a lawyer and dissuaded him from any artistic endeavors. Marriage did not offer freedom, just a new person to take command of his life. When Marty sees his family ganging up on his son Keefer (Matt Voisine) and Keefer’s new girlfriend, Megan (Jennifer Brian), for their vegan restaurant idea, the abuse Marty has taken over the years becomes all the more clear to him. Enough is enough.
Trisha, on the other hand, is just waiting for Marty to get over himself. If he needs to get this acting thing out of his system, so be it. She doesn’t truly see what’s going on, because she’s not interested in any interpretation but her own. And in her mind, it’s all temporary until Marty is right back at home, and things are back to normal.
While Future Perfect is humorous in spots, it’s hard for me to characterize this as a comedy. It’s primarily a drama, and has a resonance beyond giving a good laugh or two. Again, while it sets itself up somewhat as “Marty’s love of acting,” this story could’ve been told with almost anything else. Marty needed to break out of his life; “acting” could’ve been “sky diving,” or “painting,” or even “exercising more.” It’s a frame; it’s not the most important aspect of this story.
In the end, the film is a suitable story of a man at the crossroads of the second half of his life. It’s sometimes pleasant, sometimes heartbreaking, never tedious and actually gives its minor characters a smidge more depth than is common for similar films. In that way, it allows for the narrative to grasp the reality that everyone is more than just one primary characteristic that seems to define them for the short term story. Hell, I even felt bad for Trisha at one point, which shows that the film does more than just paint her as some evil beast out to squash Marty’s dreams; she just fell into her role, and with repetition over the years, became very, very good at being a brow-beating jerk.
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