“Loitering With Intent” takes off like a shot, all jaunty energy, mouthy smarts and zippy cinematic nods. But the script, by actors Ivan Martin and Michael Godere, allows the potentially clever story — as well as the pair’s intriguing lead roles — to get hijacked by other characters, extraneous concerns and wispy interactions.
Friends Dominic (Godere) and Raphael (Martin) are Brooklyn bartenders and unemployed actors who stumble upon the chance to star in a low-budget film to be produced by a fast-talking friend (Natasha Lyonne). That is, if within 10 days, they can present her with the noirish screenplay they pretend to have written. Great setup, right?
The guys land at the country house of Dominic’s sister Gigi (Marisa Tomei) to hunker down and dash out said script. But they’re immediately waylaid by the anxious Gigi; her coltish young friend, Ava (Isabelle McNally); Gigi’s shaky military veteran boyfriend, Wayne (Sam Rockwell); and Wayne’s brother, Devon (Brian Geraghty), a loopy beach bum and nascent reality TV star.
Things get tangled: Raphael’s old romantic feelings for Gigi resurface while Gigi’s trying to reconcile with the edgy Wayne. Devon’s got the hots for Ava, but Ava has eyes for Dominic. Meanwhile, the pensive Dominic, who’s desperate to “make a mark,” struggles to write with little help from the self-sabotaging Raphael. Folks fight, gripe, dance, drink and make out — in no particular order.
At a mere 75 minutes, this often amusing, uniformly well-acted movie had the leeway to more fully explore both the script’s showbiz gambit and its romantic roundelay. As it stands, however, under playwright-filmmaker Adam Rapp’s loose-limbed direction, there’s too much loitering and not enough intent.
“Loitering With Intent”
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills.