Fri 6.21.2013

Hot Dogs, Road Trips & a Chance at ‘Forev’

Forev rolls forward on a train of awkward silences and genuine laughter before punching you in the gut with a bittersweet romance.

By Wendy Chuong / LA Film Fest Guest Blogger

Forev finds twenty-something Pete (Matt Mider) and struggling actress Sophie (Noël Wells) looking for stability in the seemingly random series of events they call their lives. As neighbors and almost-acquaintances living in Los Angeles with no other real friends or family, Pete and Sophie are forced to turn to each other for solace from their loneliness.

After a particularly disastrous hot dog commercial audition, Sophie goes to Pete’s apartment looking to wallow on his floor. At an age where everything feels as important as forever, Pete—in an effort to make this connection with Sophie last as long as possible—suggests they get married and go on an impromptu road trip to Phoenix, setting the rest of the film into motion.

The film steadies a haphazard plot in, what writer and co-director James Leffler described as, “the liminal space of a road trip.” In a space where anything goes — like the extended sequence dealing with a freshly run-over armadillo — there was plenty of room for the improvisations and authentic reactions that led to the genuinely charming quality of the final script of Forev.

Amid the humorous hijinks, Forev tentatively dissects the fleeting and meaningless state of current relationships, like the one Pete’s sister, Jess (Amanda Bauer), had with her ex-boyfriend, with whom Pete was more invested in than Jess. Likewise, Pete and Sophie barely ever talked to each other outside of their apartment complex, and decided to get married mainly for the tax breaks and possibility of matching trucker hats.

All the characters in the film attempt desperately to find someone, anyone, to ease an emptiness that comes from the anonymity of being a 20-something living in the city. Pete is perhaps the best example of the worst-case scenario, as he over-shares with the people that call him for tech support while doing chores and so very awkwardly undresses himself in the hotel bed he shares with Sophie, just on the off-chance that’s where the night will lead.

Filmed mostly in the Californian desert with co-directors Molly Green and James Leffler leading a group of actors they went to college with, the sad, soul-searching mood of Forev never overpowers the funny. Clever dialog and just enough random occurrences—look out for the ‘Yo Hablo Wasted’ t-shirt on Jess—keep the movie from ever becoming cliché.

Forev ends on the contemplation of marriage, the contemplation of what forever really means, and the contemplation of not contemplating so much and just doing whatever makes you happy, and if that’s getting married to a stranger, so be it. Just go along for the sweet ride, as Forev leaves you feeling optimistic that, in a city of a million faces and very few names, you can always find a partner in crime and a little slice of forever.

Forev screens at the LA Film Fest again tonight, June 21 at 9:50pm. Tickets available at the door, more information available here »