SIFF 2013: Mutual Friends ***

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 25, 2013)

I’ve always found dinner parties to be a fascinating microcosm of human behavior; ditto genre films like The Anniversary Party, The Boys in the Band, and my all-time favorite Don’s Party. Mutual Friends (a SIFF World Premiere) is the feature film debut for director Matthew Watts. Sort of an indie take on Love, Actually, this no-budget charmer centers on a group of neurotic New Yorkers (is that redundant?) converging for a surprise party. In accordance with the Strict Rules of Dinner Party Narratives, logistics go awry, misunderstandings abound, unexpected romance ensues, and friendships are sorely tested. Despite formulaic trappings, the film is buoyed by clever writing, an engaging ensemble, and cheerful reassurance that your Soul Mate really is out there…somewhere…

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