The Video Guys
Review by Justin Bowler
Some indies we forgive a lot for being indies. Other indies are phenomenal, but are put in a class with major blockbusters, and we judge them too harshly. This film falls somewhere in between. It is a great script that presents itself like a blockbuster. It is beautifully shot, at times, and has moments that are worthy of any studio release, but this causes you to judge its shortcomings more harshly. However, in all of this, it is an indie that reminds us of why we love indies.
“The Video Guys” are a group of fellows who shoot weddings. However, they are more than just entrepreneurs. They are guardians of love. The leader of the group, and also the lead character, Paul, is the best of the best when it comes to making a bride look good, and he can tell just by looking at an engaged couple if they will last. Furthermore, he has never been wrong… except once: his own marriage. Now, his ex-wife wants him to video her wedding with her new fiancé. Add to that, Paul’s money problems, his exceptionally clever daughter, and his group’s unorthodox methods of handling bar mitzvahs and you have the film’s set up.
They obviously started with an excellent script! Writer/director Dan Brennan had a clear vision from the moment he put pen to paper. Loaded with dry clever lines, one has to appreciate the well written dialogue, but, unfortunately it was probably funnier on paper. The acting is mostly great, but the script suffers from a few casting choices in some midsize roles. On the other side, the two major standouts are (writer/director) Dan Brennan, the lead character Paul, and Sabrina Brennan, his daughter in real life and in reel life. Plus, there is a small but exceptionally memorable performance by Rachael Palmer Jones as a blind bride to be. The production value is excellent at times, but painstakingly obvious that it is an indie at others. For example, droll offices look interesting and dynamic. But, they obviously had sound problems throughout. (However, I only mention them as “problems” as judged by the standard of studio productions.) Truly, this is an excellent indie. In short, they used what they could and it is a wonderful example of using what you have to the best you can. Furthermore, its charm overpowers its problems.
“The Video Guys” is the perfect example of a first film by a raw but talented filmmaker. Like so many first films for the great directors of our times, one can see the individual standout scenes that are absolutely worthy of a big budget movie from a studio. Sadly, this makes the other scenes seem more mediocre than they really are. By this, I mean that the great scenes set a bar so high, that the other scenes that are just ordinary (or even extraordinary by indie standards) can’t measure up. The film as a whole certainly solidifies Dan Brennan as an educated and artful filmmaker who, with the right agent and the right budget, will make more fantastic films.
It’s a touching indie romantic comedy. 3.0 stars.
Here’s where you can see “The Video Guys” in 2010 and beyond:
– The Fringe Festival at CW Post College in NY: Sept. 26th
– Copies can be purchased directly from director Dan Brennan via “The Video Guys” website.
– We will have the info here when the film is available in department stores such as Wal-Mart.
Directed by: Dan Brennan
Running Time: 95 Minutes