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By Mark Bell | May 5, 2014

When an employee of the D.R.R. Corporation quits for “personal reasons,” his office becomes a potential prize for all the other departments in the building. Turns out corporate will be deciding the fate of the office, and will be sending their decision later that day. Fearing they’ll lose out, the goofy, and conniving, IT Department decides to get proactive, turning off the network and confiscating cell phones, claiming it necessary due to the threat of a nonexistent virus they’ve made up, in the hopes that they can intercept corporate’s decision and alter it to their advantage. Things don’t go as planned, of course.

Dan Reheuser and Stone Lyons’ short film, Tiny Champions, doesn’t really go anywhere novel with its storyline or humor. The vibe is fun, and the office culture is more reminiscent of elementary school than it is an adult business (save some of the language), but office hijinks and quirky IT departments are not really new narrative ground; the film doesn’t do much to make this group stand out, save for perhaps their choice of t-shirts. Is it amusing? Yes, it is, but it’s not memorable.

Which transitions nicely into criticism about the short’s twenty minute-plus running time. Simply, it’s too long. Due to its often forgettable nature, you could tighten this one right up, come in closer to ten minutes, and I don’t think it’d make a huge difference in the audience’s enjoyment of the film. It doesn’t say anything in twenty that it couldn’t say in ten.

That said, after reading about the film after my initial watch, it was apparently conceived as a television sitcom pilot. This explains the running time (but doesn’t explain why we need another sitcom about an office with eccentric employees). Which is fine, but if it wants to be seen as a short film, it should be a shorter film.

On the technical side of things, the film has the feel of a very low budget production, and thus shares some of those common issues. The image doesn’t always look great (probably due to the equipment available), the audio mix is shaky at times and in general the production value is on the weak side. Then again, it is set in an office building, so the blandness works to the film’s advantage to set the mood. Still, the film doesn’t do much to elevate itself otherwise. It’s fine, the momentary pitfalls don’t distract too much; it’s typical for a low budget production, that’s all.

In the end, Tiny Champions is not a bad short film so much as it is just a very mediocre one, that doesn’t make its mark in a way as to convince you to watch it again, or suggest it to other people. It’s not an unamusing experience, but it’s not a compelling or interesting one either. It didn’t leave me feeling like I’d wasted my time watching it, but it didn’t inspire much thought after.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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