Sergio Navarretta’s The Colossal Failure Of The Modern Relationship is secondarily about food and wine. These are both things that are supposedly top tier. But the actual film is generic, thanks to the uninspired visuals and soundtrack. There are some saving graces here, though. Some of the supporting actors steal scenes from the miscast main players. There’s also a hint of sadism in Alessandra Piccione’s screenplay, as if she wants her cheating bourgeois characters to suffer. But this all plays out in our own wine country in Niagara. As if Canada needs its own version of Sideways. It doesn’t.
Thankfully the protagonists here aren’t unrepentant douche bags. Instead, we get a piano teacher, Cat (Krista Bridges), who had her day as a solo artist. Cat is sleeping with Richard (David Cubitt). She’s doing that although she already has a long time boyfriend, food writer Freddy Fiore (Enrico Colantoni). She accompanies him to a work trip in Niagara. What she doesn’t know that his boss is coming and that his boss is Richard. The latter, hot enough to hide his sociopathy, also decides to bring along his own girlfriend Amy (Brooke Palsson). I get a distinct joy in watching people stuck with other people they’re avoiding, and we get that here.
The characters face the consequences for saying things they shouldn’t. I also get the sense that the actors dislike their characters, which is, you know, a choice. And that brings mixed results. There are some aspects of Colantoni that don’t fit with the effete Freddy. There’s also something about the way the film dresses the male characters – fedoras and ascots and all. I stopped wearing fedoras in my early twenties. It’s sad seeing older characters wear those mistakes. The standout for me is Palsson as Amy, who is smarter than she lets on.
The film comes out on VOD days after its obligated limited release. I wonder if experiencing Niagara in the small screen would be a loss. But I’ve enjoyed things visually in small screens before and I didn’t get that here. The fun moments, instead, involve the main characters playing around in the vineyards. And the other guests who witness and comment on the romantic mishaps of the foursome like a Greek chorus does. The factors have potential but too bad the film executes them in a cheap and dated manner. I just wish that everyone involved gave more.
- Release Date: 6/23/2017