“Write When You Get Work” doesn’t work. Not as a romance, not as a Robin Hood-tinged caper flick, not as a social commentary on racial inequity or classism, and not as a male-buddy picture — all elements director Stacy Cochran attempts to wedge into her often muddled, under-focused script.
Ruth (Rachel Keller) and Jonny (Finn Wittrock) were young lovers and petty thieves from Manhattan’s outer boroughs whose idyll — and relationship — was shattered by a surprise pregnancy and a visit from law enforcement. About a decade later, they unexpectedly reunite at a friend’s wake: Ruth is now working in admissions at a tony Manhattan private school; Jonny’s still running scams, skating by on sex appeal and fast talk. Their child? Put up for adoption; Ruth has pictures.
As Jonny inveigles his way back into the conveniently single, not-quite-resistant Ruth’s life, the pieces of a new con start falling into place involving Nan (Emily Mortimer), the confused, unraveling wife of a dodgy hedge fund manager (James Ransone), whose daughter goes to Ruth’s school.
How Jonny, with the help of his old neighborhood pals, who go by such oh-grow-up-already nicknames as Sticker, Wegs and Bobby D., pulls off said swindle is shown with more sleight of hand than clear methodology, none of it very convincing. Worse, the plan ends up overtaking the Jonny-Ruth dynamic, the most potentially intriguing part of this ill-conceived tale.
‘Write When You Get Work’
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Playing: Starts Dec. 7, Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood