Movie Review — Preggoland

The indie comedy features appearances by Danny Trejo and James Caan. Director Jacob Tierney will be in attendance for the GIFF closer.

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Sun., March 29,  6:30 p.m.
w/appearance by director Jacob Tierney
360 Realty Theater at Channelside Bay Plaza
615 Channelside Drive, Tampa
$12, click here to purchase tickets

The Canadian comedy import Preggoland — the closing film in this year's Gasparilla International Film Festival — stars actor-screenwriter Sonja Bennett as 35 year-old Ruth, a free-spirited, single late bloomer confronted with society's shifting expectations.

In the opening scene, perhaps the best in the movie, Ruth is hungover at her friend's baby shower. Things go horribly south in an incident involving one of the children, and her friends decide to cut her off. The peer shunning, a work situation and other brushes lead her to fake a pregnancy, which helps Ruth finally start to fit in and change her life for the better. It's a conflicted scenario because the well-meaning Ruth isn't all that comfortable lying to everyone.

Director Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky) is adept at bringing out the humanity of the characters and though Bennett's script veers from simplistic answers, the character development and plausibility of the situations are lacking. Some major gaffes include a scene when Ruth ducks a Sonogram by telling the nurse she has to pee. (Almost always, women are required to undergo sonograms with a full bladder.) 

Script problems aside, Ruth is endearing and funny, and fairly well drawn with some nicely nuanced contradictions — though she downs liquor from a flask when she's stressed, she manages to keep the same job at a grocery store for 15 years.

Too bad the others in the movie just seem to be little more than cardboard cutouts in service of Ruth's emergence into adulthood. James Caan is a doting dad whom the movie could use more of; Danny Trejo can't help but be funny but plays a stereotyped Latino janitor who used to be a doctor in his country. Riiiight.

All in all, some laugh out loud moments and a pleasant indie chick flick to see with gal pals — especially if you're not buying into the whole nuclear family/keeping up with the Joneses thing.

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