WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
Ah, the world of infinite possibilities. Tempting, is it not? The thought of having at your beck and call every potential outcome available, or at least the ability to attempt to have every one, is beyond the wildest dreams of most people, level-headed or not. However, if this power were within your grasp, would you truly take it, no thought to consequences? Let’s just ask hopeless romantic Ed (Edward Easton), a common enough bloke with a geek factor the size of the universe. On this particular evening at a favorite local eating establishment, Ed finds himself in conversation about his newest “toy” with good friend Carrie (Kath Hughes). Initially feigning interest, Carrie learns Ed’s new invention creates a “save point” in time.
Still bewildered about its purpose, Carrie badgers Ed until he explains how it operates, which manages to also go over Carrie’s understanding until Ed finally chooses to demonstrate how it actually functions–by killing himself–much to the shock of the restaurant’s patrons and head waitress Carina (Natalie Ferrigno). But, thanks to the machine’s intent, Ed pops back up alive, but from the point he first initiated the “save”. As Carrie’s notions about it begin to clear, much less finding out the girl of Ed’s dreams, Sarah (Katie Beresford), is the reason for the item’s existence, a further and jarring revelation about the whole situation is revealed. Choosing to flow with Ed’s intentions in spite of harsh realities uncovered, everything then takes an even more bizarre turn for them all.
Next, my Mind:
Rom coms will never be the same thanks to writer/director/co-producer/editor James Kennedy’s absolutely hilarious 23-minute short film that more than makes a point to warn us humans what elements of existence we really shouldn’t mess with, regardless of the “purity” of our intentions. Becoming a comedic cautionary tale about the lengths we might go for love but not always consider the ramifications it might have on others, the narrative’s wonderfully orchestrated sci-fi twist makes the proceedings that much more jocular and full of witty geek talk, befuddled friend moments, sincerely heartfelt romantic gestures, and hard lessons learned about what happens if you try and dominate time and what can be done with it. Watching everything start out so relatively innocently and then totally spiral out of control is a riot throughout, but then actually takes a turn for the genuinely sentimental, bringing warm fuzzies to one’s heart–until the finale slaps you right in the face and soon, you’re on the floor laughing out loud again at the utter, entertaining absurdity of it all. The overall visual execution is solid here as well, following the hilarity with purpose and clear cinematography capturing each moment perfectly.
Easton hams it up with the best of them in his role as Ed, a nerdy average Joe who’s got a beautifully planned out scheme to win the affections of his dream girl, but without any consideration for the other people whose lives he’s drastically impacting along the way. From seeing him attempt to explain his gadget to a clueless Carrie, to the extremes of him having to “off” himself to get his purpose across, to the realizations he brings to Carrie and what his quest has meant to her life, finally making it all happen, and then ending up in a totally cruel and unusual (but totally hysterical) dilemma to end things off is brilliantly portrayed by Easton. Hughes is a total stitch here as well in her performance as Carrie, Ed’s plain Jane friend who’s disenchanted with Ed’s insanity, even after she finds out what he’s up to, but soon becomes at least a little more intrigued by his invention–until the revelation of what it’s actually meant for her personally. Having to then choose to go along with Ed’s shenanigans is tedious and frustrating for her, but she supports him anyway, only to end up making one last attempt to aid in his happiness that backfires on them both. It’s an uproarious set of circumstances, and Hughes milks every moment of it.
Supporting turns here are provided by Beresford as Sarah, the angel Ed has been pursuing, and whom ends up being much more enamored with him than we might expect, though let’s just say she’s had some–practice–without knowing it, along with Ferrigno as the restaurant’s hapless head waitress Carina, who has more than her fair share of fainting episodes (see the film to understand), annoying customers, and a rib-tickling attitude that, pardon the pun, serves her quite well. In total, “CTRL Z” is one of the most original, madcap indie rom coms this reviewer has seen and it is certainly further proof of the ongoing artistry and inventiveness the independent film world has to offer. See this, folks! Period.