Freebie, The (Review)

FREEBIE, THE
(9/17/10; Drama)
Katie Aselton, Dax Shepard, Leonora Gershman, Ken Kennedy
SCR/ DIR: Katie Aselton
MPAA: R for language and sexual content.
1 hour 18 mins
BOX: $16,613

Shepard and Aselton are a young couple who agree to give each other a pass for one night, the freedom to sleep with someone else, no questions asked. Instead of playing the concept for cheap thrills or laughs, Aselton’s movie (she wrote and directed) respects its characters enough to make them smart, loving and believable.

How believable? Well, they talk about sex more than they have it. But once that fateful conversation happens, everything shifts. Simple exchanges now carry subtext, and insecurities are ignited. It’s nice to see Shepard doing something more than broad comedy. His hang-dog expression here reveals something fragile.

Director Aselton’s mumblecore aesthetic serves the material well, allowing for long conversations that sound like improvisation (a good thing). She’s an insightful director more concerned with overall themes than providing glamor shots, but does allow herself one great walk of shame.

Even from across the street, her posture speaks volumes. (Phase 4)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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