RSVP: Our Review of ‘The Argument’

Posted in Movies, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - September 04, 2020
RSVP: Our Review of ‘The Argument’

Director Robert Schwartzman’s comedy The Argument feels very much like a play. With a main cast of only six, the film takes place primarily in one location, the apartment of Jack (Dan Fogler) and Lisa (Emma Bell). The cast has a strong ensemble feel, and much of the acting is rather theatrical, with the larger, more emphatic performances that one associates with the stage rather than the screen. 

Jack is hosting a party for his girlfriend Lisa after her final performance as Constance Mozart in the stage play Wolfgang, presumably a reference to the play, and subsequent film Amadeus. Also attending the party is Paul (Tyler James Williams) and his girlfriend Trina (Cleopatra Coleman), as well as Jack’s literary agent Brett (Danny Pudi) and his wife Sarah (Maggie Q). After a disastrous evening, Jack and Lisa get into an argument. In an attempt to figure out which one of them is right in the quarrel, they decide to invite the others back to recreate the evening to discover the truth.

What follows is a film in the vein of Groundhog Day, with the same evening being played out over and again, with subtle and not so subtle changes each time. 

This film is deliciously uncomfortable, something that I didn’t think it would be able to sustain for the duration. Not only is that pulled off, it never quite gets exhausting as one might expect. Much of this is down to the cast. The six main players all share wonderful chemistry with one another. Each member of the cast gets a chance to play off every other character at one point or another, and the fun being had by these actors is obvious. Each has more than a few moments to shine. The dialogue is tight and honest, and the timing is impeccable. 

Like many movies that use the trope of revisiting scenes constantly throughout the narrative, that is where this film suffers somewhat. It never gets boring, and there is enough comedy and mayhem to keep it interesting, but there is – throughout the first two acts at least – a sense of retread. A “been there, done that” element that can slow down the movie’s momentum at times.

Fortunately the third act introduces a fresh new concept which is where the movie realizes its funniest and most uncomfortable potential. This is where I found myself thoroughly locked in. 

The Argument is a fun, funny little movie. It boasts strong performances and a sharp screenplay. Further, it feels very real. For all of its silliness, the way the characters talk when they’re angry and have had a bit too much to drink, and the themes of jealousy and self-doubt are all very authentic, without making the movie somber.

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