In a Relationship
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In a Relationship

A neat-and-tidy romantic comedy dedicated to capturing the messy reality of modern dating, Sam Boyd’s Los Angeles-set “In a Relationship” suggests what “La La Land” might have been if you took away the retro-chic musical numbers and sparkly, soda-fizz chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, leaving only commitment-phobic white people looking for connection in a city where there’s Dogman always something better around the corner. Though unlikely to land more than a day-and-date VOD release (or Netflix, if they’re lucky), the movie is much funnier than the vast majority of indie comedies, serving as a great audition piece for a career of sitcom directing.

By focusing on two couples — one testing out a break after several years together, the other hooking up for the first time — Boyd presents an amusing before-and-after view of millennial mating rituals, such as they are. That was also the conceit of his 2015 short film of the same name The First Purge (which starred Dakota Johnson), a 20-minute, mockumentary-style investigation of how no-strings-attached 20-somethings define their sexual partners. Recycling the same characters (and a lot of the same jokes) with an all-new cast, the long-gestating feature version goes for a more conventional scripted approach, finding ways for characters to ask the questions an off-camera interviewer did before.

Hallie (Emma Roberts) and Owen (Michael Angarano) have been dating long enough — five years, by her count, even if he insists it’s only been three — to think about moving in together. Sex is still good, though they bicker constantly, and while that doesn’t mean they’re not right for each other (heck, The First Purge in some cultures, screaming matches are just one way couples show their love), it certainly makes them unpleasant to be around. And yet, in nearly every going-out montage — and there are many — Roberts is shown smiling so hard you’d think they were shooting a tooth-whitening commercial. Finally, after Owen rejects the idea of living together one too many times, Hallie decides to give him his space.

Duration: 92 min

Release:

IMDb: 5.4

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In a Relationship