Movie Review: Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

Posted: January 26, 2016 in Comedy, Romance

wristcutters

Distraught over the end of a rocky relationship, Zia (Patrick Fugit) commits suicide by slitting his wrists.  Zia is relegated to a portion of the afterlife meant for those who commit suicide.  It’s a lot like the society he left, except no one can smile, there are no stars, and it’s hot as hell.  Zia meets Eugene, (Shea Whigham) a Russian guitarist, who kills himself by electrocuting himself on stage.  Eugene has a car with a Bermuda Triangle, where things, once dropped inside the black hole, disappears for good. As the two drive across the nether regions of the afterlife, Zia learns his girlfriend Desiree (Leslie Bibb) has killed herself.   While searching for Desiree Zia also meets Mikal (Shannon Sossaman) a pretty girl who’s hitchhiking through this piece of the afterlife.  Mikal is convinced that the People in Charge have brought her here by mistake, Mikal did not commit suicide, and she wants out. Does Zia find Desiree?  Does Mikal find the People In Charge?  What does Eugene find?

This is an odd thing to say about a movie where the main subject is suicide, but this is a pleasant movie, with pleasant characters, and yes it is a love story.  It reminds me of a mix between Heaven Can Wait, a 1970’s film with Warren Beatty, where he thinks he is in Heaven by mistake, and the Wizard of Oz, where each of the principles seem to be on a quest. At its heart, it is a road movie, and as a road movie, it reminds me of The Sure Thing, where the main character is looking for one thing, and on the way, finds something else.  That’s a pretty standard path for a rom com, but this movie has some quirky elements and characters that make it worth watching. The writers try to pad the movie, by adding characters and plot lines late in the movie, but these additions seem unnecessary and dilute the main story.  The ending seemed rushed and forced, but overall, it’s worth a watch.

The acting was surprisingly good for a low budget film.  Patrick Fugit gives Zia a kind of vulnerable helplessness that is both funny, and necessary for the character.  Shannon Sossaman plays the smart, sensible, girl who wants to leave this ersatz Purgatory in the dust.  This is the second non-conventional movie I’ve seen her in, she was great in 40 Days and 40 Nights, as the love interest of Josh Hartnett.  It is Shea Whigham that absolutely steals this movie, however.  Eugene has no filter, and Whigham gives Eugene a perfect dead-pan delivery, that is hilarious.  Will Arnett does a very funny cameo as a huckster messiah.

The direction is not that great, the pacing is slow, and the story is told in what seems to be an unending series of tangents.  There is also nothing visually stunning, probably because of the low budget, even though the director gets good performances from the leads, it’s not really a notable directorial effort.

Wristcutters:  A Love Story.  A bloody good time.

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