In Christian Kotey’s short film The Arrival, Louise (Lynn Rafferty, who also wrote the screenplay) is broke and she needs money fast. While talking casually with her roommate Michelle (Jennifer English) about the easiest get-rich schemes, they decide that the safest way would be to build a website and sell babies to couples or singles who can’t make one on their own. Only catch is, Louise does not plan on supplying them with a baby. She’s going to take the money and run (this is apparently more legal than being an escort, we learn).
One month later she has what seems to be the website’s first customers and a case study for her master plan to get rich: Two gay men who’ve been together a long time and who now are ready to bring a little one into their lives. To first confuse and then persuade them, she comes in and out, disguised as different “pregnant women,” giving them a variety to choose from. To make this more of a comedic short, each of her characters get worse as they come and go.
And that is the problem with The Arrival. Even though her characters are designed to be goons you’d never want to buy a baby from, the point still is to dupe people into buying a baby from a seemingly pregnant woman. But, all of her characters – a sassy little bitch who can’t get off her phone, a drunken blonde who doesn’t even know where she is, a homophobe-in-training who lost her chance at being a nun due to raging hormones, and a foreigner unable to speak English – are not people you’d want to ever buy a baby from, unless you were skilled in not seeing a scam artist five feet in front of you. The idea and execution is funny, but the story makes Louise seem just bored rather than a hopeless woman desperate for money.
The Arrival is based on a play (of the same name) by Rafferty and the two gentlemen who play the gay couple, Shay Griffin and Kenneth Fox. The film is shot really well and the setup makes us feel like we’re sitting in the room with them, just like a play. The idea of The Arrival offers solid laughs, but there’s still the lingering question, “The reason behind this scheme was to make money, right?”
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