International Falls: Stand-Up Meets Small-Town

Rob Huebel as TIM and Rachael Harris as DEE in International Falls. Courtesy of Outskirt Media.

Two lives that are going in completely different directions intersect when one comedian checks into a hotel in International Falls.

Dee (Rachael Harris) works as the front desk clerk at a hotel.  She’d rather be anywhere else but International Falls, Minn.  To be more specific, she’d rather be performing stand-up comedy.  It’s no surprise that Dee likes to talk to all the touring comedians that make their way through the hotel.  In this particular instance, it’s Tim (Rob Huebel) checking into the hotel.  Unfortunately for Dee, Tim is burnt out from performing stand-up on the road.  Even if he’s burnt out, it’s this comedy connection that enables the two to strike up a friendship.

This time around though, Tim doesn’t plan on leaving.  He’s a comedy headliner that just isn’t going anywhere with his career.  It’s a sad but true reality.  Not everyone is able to make it to the next level of performing in larger venues.  Others keep at it while some come to grips with the dream being dead.  You just never know.

Anyway, both Dee and Tim meet up following Tim’s first show in town.  Their one-night stand forces Dee to come to terms with everything going on her life.  While Dee has her issues, Tim confesses his own shortcomings.  Nothing is perfect but when is it ever?!?

What makes this film so truthful on another level is that screenwriter Thomas Ward was a touring comedian.  He’s able to bring some of his own insight that comes from the personal experience.  Sometimes, you just can’t substitute research for the lived experience.  Behind the canera, director Amber McGinnis brings out elevated performances from co-stars Rachael Harris and Rob Huebel.  If you’ve watched Rob Huebel perform over the years, you know how talented he is as a comedian.  What we get from him here is a toned-down performance but a moving one nonetheless.

This is the type of film that might play better with an audience than watching by yourself.  At least, that’s how I felt while viewing the film.  I mean, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it but I didn’t find myself laughing much for a film billed as a comedy.  Maybe it’s the world we’re currently living in with higher levels of stress and anxiety?  In any event, I feel that comedies work better when you’re watching with an audience.  There’s something nice about the energy feeding off of other audience members.  This is something that is seriously lacking when it comes to watching by one’s self.

As of last weekend’s press release, International Falls was set to open in 10 theaters.  There’s no word as to whether or not the ten markets remain open.  In any event, it’s one of the many films available to watch on VOD!  There is no shortage of available films to watch!  Okay, I digress.

International Falls is bound to resonate with those dreaming of getting out of small towns or needing a reboot on their life.

DIRECTOR:  Amber McGinnis
CAST:  Rachael Harris, Rob Huebel, Matthew Glave, Jessie Sherman, Erik Griffin, Mindy Sterling, and Kevin Nealon

Outskirt Media releases International Falls on Digital/VOD on March 20, 2020. Grade: 3.5/5

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.