When Eddie (Steve Theiss) and his girlfriend Lori (Sarah Nadeau) get into a public fight about his perceived flirtations with another woman, Eddie follows Lori to the Ladies Room to resolve the conflict. Each hunkered down in their own stall, they go back and forth as Eddie tries to calm Lori down, eventually revealing the truth about the interaction with the other woman.
A comical look at a relationship that is maybe too contentious for its own good, Peter Blackmann’s Stalled Love takes on the challenge of keeping an audience’s attention and interest for roughly fourteen minutes of bickering, with mixed results. For one thing, since the majority of the short takes place in bathroom stalls, visually the film is limited. Attempts are made to liven up the imagery and composition, but there are only so many ways one can shoot two people arguing with each other through a bathroom stall wall.
Which leads to the second aspect of the short that can be trying, the argument itself. People argue all the time in relationships, sure, but it’s often not something that’s all that much fun to watch take place. And that is the problem here, as maybe for the first five minutes the bickering is entertaining, but as it goes on and on… regardless of any developments in the plot, neither character endears their relationship to the audience. Considering where the narrative leads, you wish someone would’ve interrupted their fight to kick him out of the Ladies Room, perhaps saving them both.
That said, there are moments peppered throughout that are entertaining, they just ultimately get drowned out by the cacophony of the back-and-forth. Maybe if this were a much shorter film, it wouldn’t have the opportunity to wear down the viewer, but at its current running time it is too much time spent with people you just don’t want to be around. In that sense, Stalled Love is an endurance challenge, which is not a goal that I necessarily think the filmmaker was going for here but, if it is… success!
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