Love Dump – Slamdance 2023

Jesse Kendall and Leila Gorstein in Love Dump.

Running a tight 51 minutes, Love Dump is the absurdist Hallmark romantic comedy parody that you didn’t know you needed.

Chicago is a mecca for improv and sketch comedy. Comedians have been trained in the art of comedy for many years on the city’s stages. Some have gone onto become big names while others remain behind and find bit parts here and there. A pair of comedians, Leila Gorstein and Jesse Kendall, are about to take Slamdance by storm with their absurdist comedy. The film might be short of an hour but don’t let that disappoint you. I won’t lie in that I chuckled more than a few times. However, the difference in watching by myself and with an audience is that the laughter is contagious. It’s the sort of film that is sure to become a hit–maybe an underground hit or develop a cult following but time will tell. If you’re the type that digests Hallmark movies by the minute, please make sure to this one a shot.

Jessica Dump (Leila Gorstein) owns a business that shells refurbished garbage. It’s the only thing that connects Jessica to her missing father. While Jessica is going out for a run in the park, dog lawyer Todd Barkley (Jesse Kendall) nearly tramples her. Like any Hallmark movie or romantic comedy, the film plays to the familiar beats. To nobody’s surprise, it’s love at first sight, only they don’t realize it until it’s too late. In classic rom-com tradition, they’ll eventually find each other again after several years, date, break up, and realize that they’re destined for each other. Unlike Hallmark movies, Love Dump does everything in under an hour.

When Todd’s girlfriend leaves him for an opportunity in LA, she leaves a box of items behind. Call it destiny or the law of romantic comedy movies but this box leads Todd directly to Jessica’s store. Mustard Girl and Pants Guy are together again. We know how their story will end but the question is what will happen to them along the way.

Gorstein’s cousin, Jason Avezzano, helms things behind the camera so the film is a family affair. Beyond the leads themselves, the film features a number of talented Chicago comedians including EJ Cameron and Tyler Davis. What shocks me the most is that they only took a week to film the comedy! You’d never be able to guess this from the end result. It’s carefully crafted. I’m assuming that there was room for improv unless they decided to stay with a tight script that features plenty of slapstick moments.

Love Dump may be absurd but this parody knows exactly what it is doing.

DIRECTOR: Jason Avezzano
SCREENWRITERS: Jesse Kendall & Lela Gorstein
CAST: Leila Gorstein, Jesse Kendall, Rob Grabowski, EJ Cameron, Zoe Agapinan, George Elrod, Lauren Summers, Tyler Davis

Love Dump screens during the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival in the Narrative Feature Competition. Grade: 3.5/5

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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.