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'In Search of a Midnight Kiss': Worse than a solitary New Year's Eve
Making a good relationship movie can't be any easier than making a good relationship. The proof is in the watery little indie " In Search of a Midnight Kiss." It wanders and putters and follows its main characters around the Silver Lake, Los Feliz and downtown areas of Los Angeles on Dec. 31.
Wilson, played by Scoot McNairy, is a failed/wannabe/sort-of/secretly very talented screenwriter, whose friends Jacob (Brian McGuire) and Min (Katy Luong) persuade him to run a personals ad online to square up a date for New Year's Eve.
The taker is maniacally overbearing and insecure Vivian (Sara Simmonds). She and Wilson meet, argue, deal with her angry ex and discover they have tons in common, deep down, and while you're watching "Midnight Kiss," it's hard not to recall much, much better low-budget films following a similar path. "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," for example.
The leaps of faith "Midnight Kiss" demands are many. Among them: If Vivian acts the way she does on their arranged date, why does Wilson worry about impressing her, even for a second, even on New Year's Eve? The banter is excruciating, and while cinematographer Robert Murphy's low-def digital black-and-white images impart a conscious "look," the look doesn't have enough of comic or emotional value to fill it out.
Running time: 1:38. Opening Aug. 22 at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema.
No MPAA rating (parents cautioned for language and some sexuality).