For as much as we’re surrounded by it, there hasn’t been a lot of entertainment focused on the topic of social media. Sure, actors and musicians use social media to promote their works and themselves. Sure, we use social media to follow our favorite celebrities and find out the latest on upcoming projects. Sure, there has been the occasional song or sitcom episode that mentions Facebook or Twitter. But I haven’t come across anything that is permeated with social media to the extent that we are.
Thus, when the Tribeca Film Fest billed “A Case of You” as a romantic comedy for the social media age, I was intrigued to check it out. I must say that I was a bit disappointed, not by the movie, but by what it was billed as. In the film, social media is used as a touch-point, nothing more than a prop. Justin Long, as Sam, suffers from a lack of confidence and a not-so-slight neuroticism as he pines for Birdie, a quirky free-spirit and the object of Justin’s affection, played by the ethereal Evan Rachel Wood. Being too much of a coward to ask her out, he stalks her Facebook page to learn her interests and takes on an alternate persona to become the man of her dreams. Most likely, you’ll laugh hard as he tries to rock climb, cook, and learn Judo to impress her.
While funny in these scenes, they are no different from other romantic comedies where the guy tries really hard to impress the girl, or vice versa, even if that involves changing themselves. In its essence, this story is the classic tale of boy meets girl, and then desperately tries to get said girl. It’s a no-brainer that at some point, he gets the girl but not without a screw-up and major dramatic lesson about the importance of being oneself. Cue awws or eyeroll here depending on your level of cynicism.
Justin Long excels in his role, which is no surprise since he co-wrote the script. It takes a really skilled actor to get you to like him in the beginning, quirks and all, but then despise his neuroses towards the end. Fun romantic comedy overall to watch but the real highlights are Peter Dinklage as an overly flamboyant barista, Vince Vaughn as a smarmy publishing agent, and a background commentary on hipsterdom, mainly because they’re set in Brooklyn. As a New Yorker and a 20-something year old, I was familiar with a lot of the hipster references, which made me wonder if the description should have been billed as a romantic comedy for the millennial age, instead of social media, although one could argue that they are mutually exclusive.
After the film, I was able to attend a Q&A with the director, Kat Coiro. While she spoke about the intricacies of creating this film, I kept wondering about the title of the film. Sure enough, someone else had the same thought and asked about it. Apparently, the title, A Case of You, was in reference to the Joni Mitchell song of the same title, but they weren’t able to acquire the rights by the time of the release. They are still trying to purchase the rights but I am personally in the camp of never naming your film after a song, especially since the song title doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the actual plot of the film. Alas though, I am not this film’s creator, merely its viewer, confused by the name of this work. A small caveat to an overall solid film, but one I believe worth mentioning.