Virgin Alexander
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Virgin Alexander

Lately Iíve been getting surprise by some exceptionally good movies slipping onto my desk for review. in several cases the title and cover art lead me to believe I had another clunker on my hands only to find out that it contained a truly enjoyable movie. Normally I hold the filmmakers responsible for bad films but who is behind excellent films with bad covers? In the case of the independent comedy, ĎVirgin Alexanderí I found myself in a quandary. The cover depicts a man and woman sitting on opposite sides of a park bench with a banner stating something about the definition of being a pimp. The first clue that this plastic shell might just contain a treasure was the line of Independent film festival awards. I must be getting jaded after some many years of pedantic flicks that I started to naturally expect the worse. Thankfully films like the one considered here have restored my faith in the art form I have loved all my life. Initially, I feared this would be a variation of the plethora of high school lose your virginity with the reference to pimps as the kicker. Thankfully, gratefully I was wrong and glad to admit it. This movie is a refreshing humorous jaunt through the romantic minefield common to all people. One thing that hit me early in my first viewing of the movie is that it did heavily borrow from other flicks with similar themes but with a distinction that propels this film above the others. The way the same archetypes and situations were used but delightfully twisted into some fresh and novel compelled me watch the movie several more times; not for the usually reasons of trying to glean more from the sub text but in this case for the sheer enjoyment this film this film brought. The filmmaking team of Charlotte Barrett and Sean Fallon has managed to reinvigorate the sexualized farce elevating it to heights this genre hasnít seen since its golden age in the sixties. Most filmmakers would choose the quick and easy way out of yet another raunchy teen ĎRí rated comedy with all the associated trappings. Fortunately this talented pair seem to care about film as an artistic expression as demonstrated by the careful crafting they gave to bringing this film to a final cut.

There is one thing that is behind this recent influx of worthwhile independent films; most came in a package from Breaking Glass Pictures, one of my favorite distributors of some of the best Indyís Iíve encountered. For this offering the story centers of the titular Alexander Mann (Rick Faugno), a man in his mid twenties who as pretty much drifted through life thus far. Unexpectedly his grandfather turns over the family home to him just before disappearing. The reason for the sudden relocation by grandpa soon becomes quite clear; the house is in foreclosure and Alexander has to come up with $125,000 in ten day the bank with take the house. Considering his means of eking out a living is hauling scrape the prospect of meeting the dealing cash in hand is pretty dim. Little wonder why the old man took off. His desperate initial attempts at coming up with the cash and brainstorming with his buddies proves futile making the prospect exceedingly bad. That is until the obligatory chance meeting. He crosses paths with a young woman with aspirations of attending an institution of higher learning, Ruby (Paige Howard). She is in a similar financial predicament unable to make her upcoming tuition payment. It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention but in this case itís more properly a madam. An idea comes to them that might have been inspired by an early Tom Cruise movie; turn the house into brothel. There are few businesses as recession proof as the oldest profession and desperate times call for desperate measures. I know exactly what you are thinking because the same thoughts crossed my mind as I sat in front of my TV. As previously noted the filmmakers took great care to pull the carpet of expectations right out from under you and you will thank them for the surprise.

Barrett and Fallon are actual filmmakers that obviously manifest a considerable degree of pride in their handiwork. A movie like this could have easily been an endless string of mindless, juvenile sexy jokes about on the intellectual level of an elementary school playground. Rather than descending on this overly traversed slide this pair took the high road by focusing on developing the characters within the context of the situation. The fact that the circumstances are familiar and the fundamental premise highly unrealistic does not diminish the quality of this film; remember his is an example of a farce. This genre is defined by outlandish premise and situations taking the characters to humorous extremes. This was extremely popular in the sixties in the era of Rock Hudson and Doris day. Of course in those days the social morality required the use of double entendre but now films are more permissive. This is one aspect where this team excels. They do not lower themselves to the lowest denominator; they show respect for their audience by presenting exceptionally well conceived, character driven humor. Although there is a few recognizable faces this is an ensemble cast in the truest sense of the term. There is an endearingly awkward nature to Alexander that makes you want to succeed. This is crucial in a farce where you need to grounds the audience in some fashion to the story, the dialogue it extremely witty and paced to a finely tuned canter. The directors motivated their cast and provided them with a smartly driven script so that each character has their turn to shine and contribute something to the overall working of the film. I think it helped a lot to have a team representing both genders. It provides a suitable and believable voice to the central characters. the result is a film far more enjoyable than you might think so forget what you think this film is and experience it for yourself.

Posted 07/11/12

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