A romantic dramedy mines deeper-than-expected themes in director Michael David Lynch's "Dependent's Day," which he wrote with costar Josh Staman. The story takes on the ways in which the concept of "the breadwinner" in a couple has been complicated by increasing gender equality.
Joe Burke and Benita Robledo star as Cam and Alice, an L.A. couple who are happy, if a bit unclear on their future together. Alice brings home the bacon as a successful fashion designer, while Cam is a struggling actor who rides his bike to babysitting and birthday clown gigs. Their financial situation is put under the microscope when Alice claims Cam as a dependent on her taxes.
The best part of "Dependent's Day" is the rapid-fire, easy-breezy banter between Burke and Robledo — their connection is palpable, and feels comfortable and lived in. Burke extends that quick rapport to the rest of the cast as well. The loosely plotted story moves forward almost effortlessly.
The film waffles on whether Cam is a no-good screw-up, as some mishaps are his fault and others aren't. But those gray areas of accountability, blame and regret are all too realistic for many relationships. Riding the wave of energetic chemistry between Burke and Robledo, "Dependent's Day" argues that maybe codependency isn't so bad, especially when a partner can offer more than just economic support.
Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood