Once the movie is made and post-production has finally been completed, distribution and exhibition are usually what challenges a filmmaker’s resolve and determination to share his or her work with an audience. Time, money, energy, and self-sacrifice can feel wasted if the film is finished and nobody is there to see it. For Jake Barrymore (Seth Meyers) and Larry Finklestein (John Cho), however, making the actual film is the source of intense stress.
After graduating from a three-day film school, Jake decides to call up an ex-girlfriend, who is one of the organizers at the Montreal World Film Festival, and convince her to squeeze their fantastically revolutionary and profound film into the line-up. Along with their teacher Martin Hughes (Jim Piddock) and their lead actress Samantha (Jessica Pare), Jake and Larry embark on a journey where no sensible and level-headed filmmaker should ever go.
The body of “See This Movie” deals with auditioning the rest of the cast, setting up, rehearsing, and filming the scenes for “Shooting From the Soul,” the film within the film. At the same time, Jake and Larry have to keep the festival organizers from figuring out that there is no completed film yet.
Seth Meyers, who can also be seen every weekend on “Saturday Night Live,” is very comfortable in the role of director-actor of “Shooting From the Soul.” Meyers pulls off the ‘very serious Jake’ very well. Cho appears to be a narrative decorative piece, but if it counts for something his back is the image that opens “See This Movie.”
Rosenthal’s film is reminiscent of a Christopher Guest film (“Waiting For Guffman,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind”) in the way that the characters carry themselves: unself-conscious and completely serious. The director has put together a film that depicts what film festival madness can be, but “See This Movie” isn’t an expose or a harsh criticism concerning the gullibility of people eager for the next big cinematic movement. If one is to leave with any meaningful closing words, it is that being honest can be rewarding—after being slapped and risking total reputation destruction.