Review: OTHER HALVES

ON

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New sci-fi thriller OTHER HALVES is half a good movie.

OTHER HALVES is a film about a group of twentysomethings burning the midnight oil on their dating app called, you guessed it: Other Halves.

They are about 10 hours till launch time, and there are still a slew of bugs to work out.

The cast of characters is predictable, like being in the audition waiting room for “The Big Bang Theory”. You have the nerdy Asian girl, the quirky cute developer that has a secret crush on the nerdy Asian girl, the even quirkier blonde with big glasses and hipster style in a Tumblr paint-by-numbers theme. Then there’s the “Devil Wears Prada”-esque Jasmine (Mercedes Manning) who appears to be the self-appointed head honcho. It’s not made clear if she’s the boss or just bossy with the others but I’m going with the latter.

You know what I would like to see in 2016? The death of the “bitch boss” trope. Yes, the “bitch boss” does exist in reality and at times it serves a purpose in films (mostly so you won’t empathize with the character that is about to be overthrown or killed off) but I think it has become a lazy device, and an easy go to when you put a woman in a position of power. You don’t need to be a bitch boss to be a “boss”. You can be a leader, without degrading and reducing others to personal plebs. That is my hope for the future of films to come. Now, back to our movie….

Wondering what OTHER HALVES really is?

As it’s explained by Devon (Lauren Lakis) during a needlessly long voyeuristic nude shower scene with Jasmine, “OTHER HALVES is a revolutionary dating app that analyzes things you do every day —from posting on social media to eating in restaurants to gaming. Essentially everything you do on the internet and find your perfect match. In other words, we are an electronic stalker and also your wingman”. While that sounds great on paper, Jasmine talks about the app as being more like a drug than a dating tool. During a pitch gone wrong, she shows the app to a group of potential stakeholders and the mood immediately shifts. Radiating confidence, sexuality and power, she feels unstoppable and while on this high, she is. This links back to the opening nude scene, the first of many nude scenes, where Jasmine and an unknown male are lying on the floor, naked and covered in blood.

With the clock ticking and Jasmine metaphorically breathing down his neck, Shawn (Sam Schweikert) is trying to work out the kinks of the loading screen as per Jasmine’s request. Now one thing I always find funny about technology and hacking in movies is that a problem with “the system” is represented by endless lines of vertical and horizontal code moving at rapid speed. This particular film portrays the system glitch far better with a rapidly flashing screen of jumbled colors, code and images that affect and infect those viewing it. It has a hypnotic and entrancing effect despite the hyper speed it moves at. I really appreciate this step off the beaten path by filmmaker Matthew T. Price. The narcotic effect of the loading screen now viewed and absorbed by everyone involved in the creation of Other Halves, the rest of the film acts as a cat-and-mouse whodunint murder game running throughout a unique and very bizarre office building.

What could be so strange about an office building, you ask?

All I can say honestly without executive experience, is that I’ve never seen an office building like this. Let me break it down for you. The OTHER HALVES office is red brick loft style, the kind of office space that would run you 5 grand monthly in a major city. The showers are early 90’s “modern” style and would be more apropos in the home of Todd and Margo Chester, the Griswold’s yuppie neighbors in CHRISTMAS VACATION. Attached to this modern art delight is a womens locker room that could house a small village, and is more fitting for a large high school than an office building. Then there are the tarps. Endless tarps. Tarps for days. Tarps that are cut into streamers, tarps that are cut into doorway décor, tarps that mimic movie theatre curtains and tarps that are tightly bound over what is presumably office furniture. Despite my confusion surrounding their surroundings, they make for some neat shots. In addition, there are also POV shots and the token gloved hand grabbing the murder weapon that give the film a Giallo-ish touch. It’s nice to see that sort of nod in a film where I would not expect it.

Did I like the film? No. Did I hate the film? No. At best, I’m indifferent to it which some might argue is worse. It just seemed to be going through the motions. I found myself struggling to stay engaged as it felt very underdeveloped and lacking in substance. Maybe if a few more passes at the script it could work but my judgment is based on what I saw, not what could have been.

For me, OTHER HALVES represents a still growing foetus not ready to leave the womb just yet.

Nota Bene: I respect the hell out of anyone with the balls to make a film and put it out there for people to love or hate. I respect the filmmakers for the blood, sweat and tears they put into this, even if it didn’t work for me.

Maybe it will work better for you?