Short film ‘Hubris’ offers up a clever take on speed dating
Speed dating. I’ve never actually attempted it myself. Not that I didn’t have to, just that it wasn’t a big thing before I met my wife. Regardless, I think that if you were actually going to try it, doing it along with several friends who were going to stack the decks in your favor is actually a pretty good idea.
That’s what happens in the short film, Hubris, from writer/director Gary King. This clever take on the speed dating concept is not only funny, but could easily be expanded into a feature-length film.
The story centers around two friends: Jeremy (Jeremy Koerner) and Barry (Frederik Goris). Jeremy has a girlfriend, Barry does not. In fact, Barry hasn’t had one in a long time. Heck, Barry hasn’t had a lot of things in a long time. And Jeremy is dedicated to helping him get some. So, he puts together a plan. With the help of a few friends, they’re going to attend an exclusive speed dating event, and each of them are going to act like the biggest jerks in order to make Barry the most attractive man in the room. Only, this simple plan doesn’t go exactly right, as the women apparently have a plan of their own.
Not only is the film terrifically funny, but the performances are all memorable. Koerner is perfect as the smart-ass best friend, and Goris as his nebbish buddy. These two play well off one another, making their relationship all the more believable. But it’s the clever stylings that King inserts into this simple 19 minute film that make it feel original.
One of my favorite bits of humor in Hubris is the voice over. Barry provides the narration most of the time, telling the story of what happened to him and his friends. But at one point, Jeremy breaks in, and the two get into an argument. Honestly, not since Goodfellas was a voice-over used so uniquely. That sounds like a cliché “critic” type of thing to say, but it’s true.
The collection of buddies King assembled for Jeremy and Barry are also perfect. The bizarre Uncle Lou (Fred Zappert) and the pathetically horny Ricky (Jared Asato) provide some of the film’s most uncomfortable moments, and had me cracked up. The women, as well, were great. We don’t really learn much at all about any of them, but their reactions to the men and their different ways of making themselves look like jerks works perfectly.
Stylistically, Hubris was mostly great. There were some moments that betrayed its low budget, but others that really helped elevate it. King developed a wonderful sequence during the speed dating scene where the frame is divided among the different guys, and we see and hear their often bizarre conversations all at once. My only criticism of this was that it went on a little too long.
As the credits roll, the film suggests, ala James Bond, that Jeremy and Barry will return in The Perfect Gentlemen. I can’t wait.