Combustible Celluloid
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With: Clayne Crawford, Judy Marte, Warren Christie, Sarah Mason, John Wynn, Lynn Chen, Kel Mitchell, Jill Bennett
Written by: Kedar Korde
Directed by: Kedar Korde
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 93
Date: 10/19/2007

X's & O's (2007)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Two Longings Don't Make a Right

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Shot in the San Francisco Bay Area, this indie romantic comedy comes with a surprising and welcome darkness; most of the characters in this ensemble suffer from serious relationship hang-ups. They pine for each other, but whenever two people actually hook up, a case of "I only want what I can't have" kicks in. Simon (Clayne Crawford) is a scientist -- who for some reason wears all of his shirt collars sticking up -- and acts as a doormat for pretty blonde Jane (Sarah Mason). He takes her to dinner and suffers as she picks up other guys to sleep with. Meanwhile, poet Trese (Judy Marte) works with Simon and has a crush on him, while Simon does not notice her. Trese's hot lesbian roommate Vivian (Jill Bennett) has a crush on Trese. And Simon's best friend Lorenzo (Warren Christie) is actually sleeping with Jane. In a less effective subplot, Jimmy (John Wynn) swaps his "gangsta" persona for that of a spineless yuppie to appease his girlfriend Gwen (Lynn Chen). A fourth buddy, Covonne (Kel Mitchell) is forgotten altogether after he explores religion as a way to get over a broken heart. Written and directed by Kedar Korde, the film makes nice use of Bay Area locations, and the acting is above par, but I mostly liked its concept of the purity of longing, versus the actual hookup as a problematic and troublesome reality. According to legend, Korde's film was turned down by multiple film festivals, and then it became a kind of unofficial hit as a bootleg torrent download. And now Seventh Art is releasing the official DVD, with a commentary track, gag reel and other bonuses.

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