I totally wasn’t going to check out “In search of midnight kiss.” It was a movie I had picked only because I had my Daytimer pass and it fit into a Friday when I didn’t have any other movies planned. I almost skipped out since I was having fun at work today but in the end I decided to head on over. Billed as a Romantic Drama, I did not have very high expectation heading in. And the opening narration from the main character was stilted enough that I expected to be in for a world of hurt. But the stilted dialog should have typed me off.
Midnight Kiss is “Chasing Amy” for the 21st-century hipster crowd. Yeah it takes place in a single day, rather than spread over weeks, and yeah the leading lady isn’t a (confused) lesbian. But the movie displays all the traits of a good Kevin Smith movie, back before he decided it was easier to be a pastiche of himself rather than actually making thoughtful movies. Like “Chasing Amy”, Midnight Kiss is about unconventional love, in this case between a loser screenwriter and the girl he mets after placing a Craigslist personal on New Years. The movie veers back and forth between the poignant and the adolescent, at one moment dealing with pubic grooming habits and the next with romantic betrayal. The characters swear all the time, behave somewhat irrationally, and generally do their best to get in their own way. They are as flawed and real as people on the street.
The cynical view of romance that Smith portrays in Chasing Amy is in full display here, as well. The movie steams along fantastically for almost the entire ninety-five minutes, but right at the end, the filmmakers decided they needed to have one last ‘twist.’ (It is hard to write about this without spoilers. Let’s just say that you’ll know it when it happens and I won’t say anything else about it.) The movie doesn’t need it. In fact, you could just cut it out completely and the movie would have ended just as well. It seems to be in there to provide justification for something that doesn’t need justification, almost as nod to an audience that won’t ‘get it.’ In the Q+A that followed the film, the director addressed that very issue, saying that it had been a hard decision to include it in the film. I wish he hadn’t. Because it took a clearly excellent movie and downgraded it in my eyes. I’d still give it a 4 out of 5, but I really wanted to give it something higher. Give me two minutes alone in the editing room with the film and it could all be better. “In Search of Midnight Kiss” is still showing on Saturday at 2:30pm, on Tuesday at 7pm, and Wednesday at 11pm. Don’t let my paragraph rant about the one little problem with the movie discourage you. It is still a well-done film and director Alex Holdridge is someone I’d consider a voice to watch. Check it out, let me know what you think about the end . . .