Thu 17 May 2007
If you think of her sinking a knife into his back, it changes the tone entirely.
Darling of the Independent film circuit, “The Puffy Chair” is about Josh (Mark Duplass), his girlfriend Emily (Kathryn Aselton) and his brother Rhett (Rhett Wilkins) picking up a big red chair to bring to their father’s house for his birthday.
A road trip movie, starting in New York and ending in Atlanta, the trio discover a lot about themselves and each other along the way.
Blah blah blah.
The idea is interesting and I applaud the filmmakers for making this film on a shoestring budget and doing all of the hard work to get their film noticed.
However, while there are some very interesting elements about the making of the film, what actually ends up on screen left me feeling cheated.
Josh and Emily have reached that stage in a relationship where you have to decide if it’s built for the long haul. From the beginning of the film, Josh is a jackass. He’s a child placed in an adult’s body.
Emily is clearly an adult ready for the next stage of her life, looking for someone to be her partner. Time after time after time, Josh says or does something that should send her running for the hills, but having been in a relationship with him for a period of time, she’s in love.
It’s not so easy to break that bond, to disengage your hooks once they’ve sunk into someone else. It usually takes a gradual grinding down of the spirit or a heinous action to break apart two people in love.
Watching “The Puffy Chair”, it’s hard to believe that Josh is truly capable of love. He seems to be content that he has a wonderful girlfriend who comes back to him and forgives him again and again.
At the same time, his brother Rhett is a continual fuck-up who I suppose was intended to be the black sheep of the family. It would make sense to me that the filmmakers had wanted Rhett to be the bad side of Josh but really, it just made it look like the brothers were both too far gone to be salvaged and Emily would be better off trolling for love at a correctional facility.
Speaking of which, I would like to applaud Kathryn Aselton for her performance. It was frighteningly realistic and natural. I hope that the industry buzz about this film will help her in the future because she’s got the appeal and talent to make a go of it in the acting world.
Popping this DVD into my player, I had high hopes for this film, considering all the buzz, and the nicest thing I’m going to do is give “The Puffy Chair” a 2 out of 5. I was dead set on doling out a lower rating but the ending to the film is thankfully a little realistic given the characters’ actions through the film and Aselton’s performance is excellent.
However, unless you’re thinking of making a film yourself or have a particular fascination with no-budget films, I really don’t see why anyone else should see this film.