Angie (Christina Shipp) is having a bad day. While walking along the side of the road, she gets pelted by a milkshake. She calls her brother and sister-in-law, Brian (Jared Stern) and Tara (Samantha Steinmetz), respectively, to come help her out, and Tara leaps to the rescue. While Brian is out, Tara proposes that she and Angie take a couple pills Tara was given at work; drugs with different effects that Tara isn’t even sure of. The two take the pills, begin to trip and Brian returns home, now in charge of two women on differing drug trips for the rest of the day.
And thus is pretty much all you really need to know about Wild Girl Waltz, as it actually delivers very little beyond its premise, which is two women go on a drug trip in different ways while a guy minds them. They leave the house and interact with other people in the area, and there’s humor to be had here and there, but overall the film is devoid of a narrative conflict or arc and just becomes boring.
Now, I can’t fault the actors in the film at all. For being in a movie where practically nothing really happens, they gave it their all and are, for the most part, pretty watchable. This is the saving grace of the film, because if they weren’t somewhat entertaining or charismatic, this film truly would have nothing. So, kudos to them for doing what they could with what they were given.
At the same time, have you ever been the sober one hanging out with a bunch of drunks or being the person who makes sure the folks tripping balls don’t hurt themselves? If no, watch this film and you’ll see how annoying and uninteresting it can be. If yes, do you really want to put yourself through that again?
And as far as the tripping goes, it’s not like we’re watching a bunch of clichéd special effects to help us understand exactly what Angie or Tara are feeling (which is both good and bad); we’re just watching them behave strangely while they talk about nothing all that interesting. There are only a few instances of narrative conflict; Brian being owed money by a friend, someone trying to steal from Brian’s truck and, at the end, Tara and Angie having a brief spat, but, save for the last one, nothing really involves any growth with the characters, and none of them really have any noteworthy payoff.
Look, there have been many films over the years that focus on conversation with little else happening, and some have been pretty incredible, so it’s not an automatic negative for a film to go that route. But the films that are successful in this premise usually involve either really witty, interesting conversations or character growth. And while it may appear that nothing is happening, there’s usually a narrative arc or storyline there. Clerks, for example, is predominantly people talking in a convenience store, but the main conflict behind it is Dante’s rut in life and relationships, and the eventual need to come to grips with and change things or stick with the status quo. There’s a conflict to be addressed.
But with no narrative arc or storyline to really invest in, Wild Girl Waltz is, again, just two women tripping and having a silly day. It has its moments of humor, and Christina Shipp and Samantha Steinmetz do the best with the characters they’re given; truly, I cannot emphasize enough how challenging this film could’ve been had the casting been worse than it is. Unfortunately, once this film takes a turn into Boringville, it just never comes back; depending on your tolerance, this can make for a (seemingly) long and painful watch.
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