REVIEW: 42 Seconds of Happiness

Title:  42 Seconds of Happiness
Rating: NR
Director: Christina Kallas
Starring: Toni Robinson-May, Becca Ayers, John J. Concado
Runtime: 1hr 30 min

What It Is: A group of friends attempt to band together to bring peace between two exes who are in the middle of a nasty custody battle. All this under the guise of pre-wedding bonding. Only these friends barely have it together themselves. One by one their issues surfaces until a wedding crasher pulls a gun on them.

What We Think: Chaotic. Nonsensical. But not bad. The film fell short of cinematic and instead felt more like a home movie, which may have been what the director was going for. The course of actions felt like it was from a point of view. As the viewer, you are almost placed as another character in the film watching as each couples’ qualms lead to some sort of blow up. This style of film is best described as mumblecore as there were often times where it felt like the actors were improvising and not going off of a script, especially when the dialogue became heavy with curse words and everyone began talking over each other.

Some things that stood out were the themes represented in the film and the editing. There were a lot of split screens, from two-ways to four-ways, that showed what was going on between all the couples who were in separate parts of the house. This created a lot of tension when some couples were getting along and others were at each other’s throats. There was a lot of toxicity in almost every relationship on screen, and a lot of it stemming from possessiveness. One of the most relatable or truest instances of this within the film is the custody battle. The idea that a child belongs to one parent and cannot be shared with the other parent if the other parent decides to pursue a relationship with a new person. This same theme is applied when the wedding crasher pulls a gun on the rest of the group because her husband is off playing house with another woman. The layers of themes being able to have equal screen time were done well.

Our Grade: C+, Christina Kallas’ film was released in 2016. Her latest film The Rainbow Experiment, stylistically, supersedes this particular feature, but her ability to make chaos on the screen work is far better than anyone I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, this film falls a little short for me in the cinematic department.

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