There are formulas. Film fans get used to them. The dependable workplace comedy has a formula; a pair who are obviously perfect for one another meet, they banter along a path that go through loathing, they eventually get together, they struggle with the relationship, and eventually it all works out. It's dependable, reliable, and produces feel-good endings. It's basically Coke Classic.
But, you see, I loved New Coke.
Temps, starring Grant Rosenmeyer (Ari from The Royal Tenenbaums) blows through what would otherwise be the first season of an ABC 10pm Dramedy in about five minutes. They go through that awkward, combative phase so quickly that it hammers it home that this isn't about the pursuit, it's about the perfection. That concept alone make Temps so appealing. What we get instead of the pre-dating banter, we get the early relationship banter right away, and with Rosenmeyer and the incredibly charming Lindsey Shaw's Stephanie combining to deliver that sort of engaging material. While it's chock-full of sexual shenanigans, it's also full of the lack of growth these two characters have been through in their lives.
That's, perhaps, the nicest. These characters are every bit as emotionally stunted as they should be. Realistically, these characters are so distanced from what most of us would see as the Adult World that the lack of maturity in these characters is completely realistic. The two are both battling demons - her of having a lack of adult romantic relationships, and him by having no focus or goal outside of skiing with his roommate. Of course, as a non-milennial, I probably just don't get it...
The secondary characters give a certain flavor to the events that amped up tension. Eden Sher (Modern Family) is nice in her caustic sarcasm.
What is amazing is the varying portrayal of sex. It ranges from quick-cut fucking to slow, loving gentle Teddy Pendergrass slow-jam-style doin' it that makes you believe these characters are capable of love. Maybe that's what's most impressive. if you can make me believe that characters I really do not wish the best for can find their heart, then you've done something.
This same cast of characters, with only minor changes to the individual performances, could have turned Temps into a dark, mean-spirited and cold Neil LeBute film. Instead, we find ourselves walking through a field of realism within a sno-globe of ever-deepening water. We know that the world they live in is contained within very tight bounds, because the characters can not look outside themselves. We also know that they don't have to, because there is so much there to see.
Temps is the kind of film I go to festivals to find. Smart, up-to-the-minute, and well-proportioned. Plus, if a film argues the gender of Gojira, I'm likely to watch forever.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.