Emmie Lichtenberg’s fun directorial debut Complicated Order had the stars align with a pitch-perfect cast and a great concept. There is a whole lot to love about this comedy, making it an easy must-see.
When Remy accidentally places a food delivery order to her estranged ex-girlfriend’s house, she sets out on a journey to retrieve it, causing her to reexamine her entire relationship–and herself–in the process.
Breakups are always hard when you are the one who has been dumped. You go through all of those stages of grief, but for poor Remy she is still firmly stuck in denial. She is in that place where she still says girlfriend when talking about her ex; she still thinks there is a chance of a rekindling. This is despite the efforts of her roommate, Alex, trying to get her (literally) out of her funk. But with big breakups like this, all you can do is let a friend go through it. With Complicated Order, you immediately relate to Remy; we have all been there or know someone who has.
In a world of our technology being so good that it remembers too much, having a dramedy based on an accidental pizza order delivery is absolutely perfect. Even when Remy is trying to figure out how to intercept the pizza, she is met with the horror that is Uber surcharging times. Emmie Lichtenberg’s script is full of little gems like this, be it the pizza owner Gino (Angelo Pagán) critiquing Remy instead of giving her advice and also being fed up with “Echo Park Lesbians” and their drama, there are laughs a plenty here in Complicated Order. But Lichtenberg also knows that it can’t all be loose chuckles in her 15-minute film and brings enough emotional pull with Remy to show us that this is still a film about recovering from a breakup. As most will know, you don’t get over a relationship or break up; you recover from it.
Midori Francis nails it as the conflicted and broken-hearted Remy. She has charm in spades, and even when stealing a skateboard, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. Filled with woeful desperation and embarrassing cardio levels, she is so wrapped up in what her ex might think about this pizza that she has forgotten about herself. It isn’t until it is too late that she figures it all out, and this is where Francis shines, mixing her comedy chops with dramatic ones as Remy lets everything sink in. It’s an excellent performance that holds its strength in as much of its relatability as its over-the-top nature in those opening minutes. Francis is making big strides at the minute and without a doubt we should see more of her in film as well her current stints on TV.
Everyone in the supporting cast here in Complicated Order bring something to the table to make the entire film flow well. Alok Vaid-Menon’s Alex is that person we need to tell it straight; though they are harsh, it is all out of love. They bring just the right amount of comedy and heart to not solely be that stereotypical main character roommate. They have a presence on camera that just pulls you, hopefully we see more of them in the future.
Heather Matarazzo comes in and is just off-kilter enough to work, and you can see she is having a whale of a time, (Do not piss off her character Trish; otherwise, say goodbye to your tyres). Railey Gilliland, Sophia Arguelles and Alexis G. Hall all do well in their short roles, and you quickly realise how well-stacked the cast is.
Complicated Order is the type of short I love, one that can work perfectly in this incarnation but also as one that could work as a feature-length film if done right. Under the helm of Emmie Lichtenberg, you end the film confident that it she could pull it off if she wanted to, especially if Lichtenberg could call upon again the cast she acquired for this short. There is no reason why it wouldn’t work and work magnificently well.
A fun comedy that brings in enough elements not to be a one-note piece, Complicated Order is a great watch and a film that shouldn’t be ignored.
The 19th HollyShorts Film Festival is running between 10th – 20th August with in person and digital screenings available through the 10th to 27th August.
For more information go to www.hollyshorts.com
Coverage of HollyShorts Film Festival 2023:
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