Indie quirk in all it's predictably monotony does little more than elicit a smile.
A lighthearted romantic comedy with few surprises, Forev is the sort of film that does little more than induce a smile. The film opens with Sophie (Noël Wells of recent SNL fame) drunkenly stumbling into her neighbor Pete’s (Matt Mider) apartment with a man she’s just picked up. In this moment, we see more of her and Pete’s characters through their non-verbal communication than through dialogue, establishing her naïve, scatterbrained personality and his plain awkwardness. The problem is that this isn’t due to fantastic acting, but because we’ve seen these characters before – over and over to be honest. Indie rom-coms are up to their ears in quirky, artistically inclined women and sensitive, socially inept men. Nevertheless, the exchange is certainly amusing to witness, and in many ways relatable, despite its oddities.
After realizing just how unworthy her temporary hookup was, and after a discouraging audition for a hot dog commercial the next day, Sophie finds herself in Pete’s apartment yet again, seeking comfort from his carpet. The neighbors become friends and Sophie decides to accompany Pete on a six-hour journey to Phoenix to pick up Pete’s sister Jess (Amanda Bauer) from college. Make no mistake: both Wells and Mider are incredibly talented actors, and as the film progresses, their chemistry is clear, and it’s not hard to believe the two have known each other for some time. Eventually Sophie admits to having a crush on Pete, and the two somehow arrive at the conclusion that they should get married, their discussion of it making the idea seem somewhat plausible. Naturally, Jess does not feel the same way upon learning about her brother’s engagement, particularly given that she has just been dumped by her long-term boyfriend.
And so, with a main cast of just three people, Forev attempts to handle the subject of marriage with a slight hand, never venturing into territory that might be controversial. Indeed, the film never aims to achieve anything beyond the surface, content with providing entertainment that even in its darkest moments is still cheerful. When the car breaks down on their journey home and the three are stranded at a motel overnight, they decide to get drunk to help Jess through her emotional turmoil. With the way they all act within the bar, however, it’s not surprising that Sophie and Pete wake up the next morning to find Jess missing, and are thrown into their first problem together. Under the stress of searching for Jess, the anxieties of the two become magnified, and they begin to realize that their impulsive decision may not have been for the best.
The film focuses heavily on the emotions of its characters, with each character making decisions based purely on emotion. The problem with this being that the characters’ emotions are entirely predictable and very few of their actions come as a surprise. Additionally, though the actions the characters take might be believable, the things they say often aren’t; speaking in a dialect purely reserved for the “quirky indie character”, it’s often as though they are all trying to channel their inner Zooey Deschanel. Paired with an ending that somewhat belies its organic atmosphere, the film struggles to be honest to itself, instead settling for being charming (although this trade-off isn’t entirely amiss, it’s rather underwhelming).
If you watch a lot of independent film, chances are you’ve already seen everything Forev has to offer. That’s not to say the film is bad – in fact, if anything it’s an indication to the quality of the film, given the real gems coming from indie cinema these days. What it does say, however, is that writer/directors Molly Green and James Leffler rely a little too strongly on established patterns to tell their story, thus suppressing their own creativity. The talent is clearly there – it just suffers from a case of being too conventionally unconventional.