I try not to be too hard on those small independent films cruising festival circuits. It’s impressive that people make films at all, and I want to give them the fairest shot I can. Especially when said film is written and directed by women (a hard enough task on its own in the industry) and shot in four weeks..but sometimes it just can’t be helped. “Wake” sucks.
If only the film tried to do something a little different – rather than the conventional, Hollywood style of filmmaking – if only the writing gave me more than one or two good jokes, and if only any of the characters developed logically. Unfortunately, none of those minimum requirements are fulfilled in “Wake.” Instead, we are given a stream of stunted, obvious dialogue, and characters forced to follow the conventional romantic comedy formula without having any logical reason to do so.
The film is about a girl, Carys (Bijou Phillips) who has become so desensitized to the world that she attends funerals in order to feel something (Harold and Maude, anyone?). Unfortunately, she falls in love at one of these funerals and has to come up with a string of lies to cover up the goofy situations she finds herself in. Carys tries to tell the bereaved who she really is – that she had no connection to the dead girl – but is consistently cut off. Not to worry, tt turns out that her new boyfriend has his own share of secrets.
There’s potential in a plot like that. Of course there is, because we’ve seen it before. Unfortunately, the film just doesn’t quite pull it off. Every element of the film is very expected and, as a result, very boring.
The film does have a couple shining stars, Marguerite Moreau, playing Carys’s roommate, plays a pretty hilarious bulimic. The major laughs in the film come from her, which is pretty disappointing since she’s only on screen for a few moments. Also, look out for David Zayas, playing a cop investigating Carys’s new boyfriend. Zayas showed up in the short film, “Concerto”, which played at Sundance this year. Though “Wake,” unlike “Concerto”, didn’t give him much to work with, you see his competency as an actor shining through.
If only “Wake” could offer us more.