The biggest obstacle with “Moving August” isn’t its obviously low budget, or even its limited locale and resources, but rather this: the movie expects us to believe that average looking August (Eddie McClintock) would voluntarily choose diminutive brunette Alexandra Adi over leggy blonde Sarah Wynter. Yeah, right.
The above said, “Moving August” is a low-budget independent film about August, a photographer who falls in love with Hunter (Adi) on the same day he’s moving out of his house and she’s moving in. Due to a mix up they’re both moving in/out at the same time, which offers up a chance meeting. When love at first sight hits, August is ready to dump his conservative girlfriend Michelle (Wynter) for the wild and free Hunter. To assist in this illusion, the screenplay by director Christopher Fink and co-writer Joseph Craig writes Michelle as a cross between Martha Stewart and an anal-retentive Catholic school nun.
Sarah Wynter (“The 6th Day”) is a good actress, and she’s playing below her range here. In an effort to sound and appear more unattractive, Wynter talks in quick bursts of peppy energy and bosses people around with an air of smug superiority. We’re supposed to think that she’s hard to live with because — gasp! — she has a job with a future and she likes to correct people’s grammar. Alexandra Adi’s Hunter, on the other hand, is supposed to be a dream girl because she’s a musician and has no trouble reading out loud sexual passages from a man’s magazine. Also, she hangs out with an ex-con on parole. Wowzer! And oh yeah, Michelle thinks people who talk about sex using the “f” word like it’s going out of style is inappropriate. What a bitch!
I’m being facetious, of course. “Moving August” is more about August’s insecurities coming to the surface as his moving day arrives. He’s moving out of his house and into Michelle’s, and his manly ego is getting the better of him. If Michelle is this bossy at August’s house, imagine how worst she is in her own castle. Most men will be able to empathize with August, who immediately starts to look for a way out. He thinks free spirit Hunter is the ticket out of the tightening noose that is life with Michelle. Much to the script’s credit, the film’s ending offers up a minor twist that turns the usual Romantic Comedy formula on its head.
One of the more intriguing characters is Adam, played by Gavin Perry, as August’s gay brother and Michelle’s confidant. Adam is a loser in love, and has sworn off straight man for good until he meets physical trainer Loren (Josh Holloway) and immediately falls in love again. Loren is helping Hunter and her roommate, the vulgar Ginny (Brenda Bakke), move into August’s house. Ginny is the film’s other interesting character, and her battles with Adam for Loren’s affections make up the film’s best moments. I’d rather spend more time with these secondary trio than the main trio made up of Michelle, August, and Hunter.
It’s easy to see why Sarah Wynter, the movie’s only “name”, chose to play Michelle. She’s not the leading lady, but she’s probably the quirkiest of the bunch. Even though Hunter is supposed to be our girl next-door heroine, Alexandra Adi could never rise above blah. But I understand August’s attraction to her — it’s not for her looks, but rather for what she represents: an escape from Michelle’s authoritarian rule. Even so, it might have been better had Fink somehow convinced Wynter to play Hunter, and Adi to play Michelle. Since August’s attraction to Hunter isn’t about the physical, nothing about the casting change would hurt the movie. Of course Alexandra Adi doesn’t look anything like Martha Stewart, but that’s one gag the movie could do without.
“Moving August” isn’t your standard Romantic Comedy, even though it treads that familiar ground on more than one occasion. The ending is certainly unexpected and a welcome change, but the rest of the film is average at best. A movie like this might have been better as a play, where exaggerating a character’s superficial personality in the name of “projecting” makes sense. It doesn’t work that well in a movie, unfortunately, where the whole thing comes across as just a tad obvious.
Christopher Fink (director) / Christopher Fink, Joseph Craig (screenplay)
CAST: Eddie McClintock …. August Loder
Sarah Wynter …. Michelle Kelly
Alexandra Adi …. Hunter Davis
Brenda Bakke …. Ginny Forster
Todd Tesen …. Joe Peck