Easy

Easy

I don’t know that Easy is a romantic comedy so much as a romantic drama that mostly keeps things light and breezy. There are potentially important topics and emotions in play, but the film avoids ever getting very dark or challenging.

Thus it has roughly the feel of a Kissing Jessica Stein, a feel good urban dramedy about relationships. Kissing Jessica Stein, though, pulls it off better. While also not being real deep, it is both more entertaining and more thought-provoking than Easy.

As indie chick flick relationship movies go, this is also decidedly inferior to the two Nicole Holofcener movies (Friends with Money, Lovely & Amazing) I’ve seen.

The protagonist is a young single woman named Jamie who evidently has a penchant for being willing to have sex too soon and thus ending up with exceedingly brief relationships with loser guys.

During the course of the movie she makes more serious connections with two guys—a dashing, exotically ethnic poet who had once been her professor, and a classic nice guy type. Her immediate circle includes her father and sister (her mother committed suicide 20 years earlier), and various friends, including an apparently gay acupuncturist.

So the film is mostly about her relationship misadventures, but includes various subplots involving various of these other folks and the connections they make.

For a good portion of the movie, I’d say the first 60%, I felt this was a clear dud.

It never examines in any kind of an interesting way the emotional and psychological ramifications of her promiscuity. When an element of greater gravity is introduced—the most notable example being a character going into a coma—it falls completely flat and doesn’t seem to fit. Indeed, so bad is the fit that it seems to be completely forgotten by everyone in the movie after it happens, rendering it quite pointless to the storyline.

I was wondering as I watched it why I felt such a disconnect from the protagonist and the other characters. It’s entirely possible that many people—women especially—could watch this and smile in appreciation at how insightful it is about the single life and about making decisions about sex and falling for a guy, and so on. Maybe I’m just too removed from the dating and relationship lives of 20-somethings and 30-somethings for that to speak to me anymore.

I doubt it though. I’ve been drawn into plenty of films that were a lot more foreign to my life than this one. It’s been awhile, but at least I used to deal with a lot of these young adult issues of dating and sex and such.

Plus I didn’t even find myself particularly attracted to the protagonist. She’s young, decent looking, and willing to have sex pretty readily—all of which score big points with me—and for that matter she’s mostly a sincere person with a good heart, but I just had trouble feeling much of anything for her.

Maybe it’s that there seems to be nothing to her other than her dating self. Except for a few brief interludes that don’t work, the only side of her we ever really see is her trying to work out her feelings for some guy, trying to figure out how he feels about her, and working on her relationships with men in general.

But if you’re empty other than your relationship self, then you don’t really bring much to the table for a relationship.

So I had trouble buying that she could be such a big deal to these guys. Someone to have a one night stand with, yes, but it seems like she’d get boring really quick until she develops some sort of an independent self.

As the movie gets into the second half—say from about the 60% mark to the 90% mark—it finally hits its stride a bit. It has a better flow, and seems to be coming together.

For one thing, it has some sex scenes where the sex struck me as more like real life sex—both when things go well and when they don’t—than movie sex, so points for realism there.

But in general the movie becomes a little more engaging, a little more like it might have some interesting things to say about relationships. Maybe I felt that way in part just because I had spent enough time with these characters to develop some slight attachment to them and to want to know how things turn out.

Before the end, though, that interest dissipates. There’s just way too much going on in the last few minutes of this movie, like the filmmakers had enough ideas for two movies and tried to cram them all into one.

Easy seems determined to place the main characters in every possible sexual or romantic combination with each other before it’s over. It’s one revelation after another of who’s sleeping with whom, marrying whom, having a baby with whom, falling back in love with whom, cheating on whom, and on and on.

I ceased caring about the impact each new twist would have on the protagonist’s emotional wellbeing and love life, because none of it is ever developed enough to get interesting—she looks stunned or cries for a few seconds—before we’re off to the next revelation of who left whom for a lesbian.

By the time the movie tries to tie things together with a happy ending, it had lost me.

So Easy is mostly lame, with a stretch that shows more promise and drew me in a bit. Overall, it’s not a movie I’d recommend.

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