Person to Person unique but doesn’t intersect

Abbi Jacobson and Michael Cera in PERSON TO PERSON, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Person to Person is certainly a unique film that has different story lines that don’t quite meet up like I had hoped for.

Written and directed by Dustin Guy Defa, the New York-based movie stars Abbi Jacobson, Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson, Michaela Watkins, Philip Baker Hall, Bene Coopersmith, George Sample III, Ben Rosenfield, Olivia Luccardi, and Isiah Whitlock.

It’s a short film with a running time of only 84 minutes but there is so much storytelling to keep up with in this small amount of time.  There is the record collector, Bene (Coopersmith), who found out about a great bargain on an obscure jazz record, Charlie Parker: Bird Blows the Blues, only to find out that the seller, Paul (Buddy Duress), is not being honest.  He was not too pleased about this, not to mention his on image issues about whether or not his shirt looks good on him.  He asks everyone if they like the shirt he’s wearing.

Meanwhile, his roommate, Ray (Sample III), made an awful decision by placing his ex-girlfriend’s naked photos online and has to pay the consequences for what he did.  She’s not happy about it and Ray finds himself in hiding from her brothers as he fears the worst.

Then there’s the anti-social teenager, Wendy (Gevinson), dealing with her best friend, Melanie (Olivia Luccardi), being in a relationship as they decide to cut class for the day.  She’s not too thrilled about it.  Melanie has invited both Scott (Hunter Zimny) and Scott’s friend, River (Ben Rosenfield), to hang out without as much as even asking Wendy about it.  She’s upset and doesn’t really want to hang out but after Melanie and Scott go upstairs, the two are left alone and start to find a romantic connection.

Finally, there’s the rookie investigative reporter, Claire (Jacobson), who is working for a metal-loving supervisor, Phil (Cera), who is demanding a lot from her as they chase down any clue they can find in a murder case that just so happens to involve the owner (Hall) of a clock shop.  Claire asks the owner why the police questioned him in the case and they later track down the dead man’s widow (Watkins).

“What was interesting to me was the idea of an ensemble movie where everything didn’t necessarily connect,” Defa says of his second feature film.  “The idea of making different movies inside one film, using different tones and totally different people, and trying to make it work.  So I pulled together different stories that I thought were going to be different movies.  Pulling those disparate threads together – the challenge of that became exciting.”

There was just way too much going on for this to be an enjoyable film.  Are there funny moments?  Sure, there are but it’s not enough for the film to be memorable even a few months after seeing it.

Selected for both Sundance and SXSW, Magnolia Pictures will release Person to Person in New York and Los Angeles on July 28, 2017 before a small theatrical expansion.  It will also be released on Digital HD, VOD platforms, iTunes, and Amazon Video.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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