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30 Second Romantic Comedy (2011)
Tonight's Short Presentation

30 SECOND ROMANTIC COMEDY (2011)

Starring: Verity Butler, Jeff Kongs, TJ Pederson, James Sheldon, Jimmy Callahan, Darby Kennerly, Rebecca Holopter

Written and Directed By: Rebecca Holopter

See It Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1-F2OQbunI

Production Website: http://www.30films.com

The Story

Amy Walker (Verity Butler, Dead Ballerina) is the heartbreakingly cute “girl next door.”  Her high school sweetheart, Preston (James Sheldon, Wid Winner and the Slipstream), is the love of her life… she thinks.  It sure isn’t Sam Vant (Jeff Kongs, Late Night Burrito Place).  All right, so she catches Preston cheating, but he does apologize with a ring.  If that isn’t love, what is?  It sure isn’t Sam Vant… is it?

The Rundown

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

ONE KERNEL OF CHEESE POPCORN.

It’s all you’ve got time for.


Pairs Well With...

ONE SWIG OF CHARDONNAY.

It’s default date wine, but you’ve only got time for a quick swig if you’re going to make it to the airport in time to save yourself from a life filled with heartbreak and “what ifs.”

“I followed my heart!”


Now here’s a title that comes straight out of a perfect world if there ever was one: 30 Second Romantic Comedy. 

Think about it, guys: it’s the ideal date night solution.  When your significant other says that you don’t get to pop in a horror movie unless you sit through a rom-com first, 30 Second Romantic Comedy has got your back.  She can’t even say that you lied, because it really is the entire start-to-finish plot of a standard romantic comedy, with the added bonus of being condensed down to thirty seconds.

Everything’s there.  The cute, sweet, blonde “girl next door” heroine.  The fluffy gathering of girlfriends… and the very, very gay guy, who also counts as far as everyone there is concerned.  The snarky “can’t stand each other” moment between our cute heroine and the blue collar bad boy who secretly has a heart of gold.  The heroine catching her boyfriend cheating with a very satisfied looking bad girl (who is of course a brunette).  The heroine crying.  The heroine catching the bad boy with grease all over himself – of course he’s fixing his car – while he shows himself to have a heart.  The cheating boyfriend trying to make up for being a jerk with a ring.  The heroine sitting there in her wedding dress, moments from getting married, when she finds a note from the bad boy who isn’t so bad after all.  The heroine bailing on her own wedding to find him, only to learn that he’s about to board an airplane and be lost to her forever.  The heroine thinking she’s too late, only to find him waiting there, looking oh so soulful with a guitar.  The saccharine declaration, the hug, the credits in a ribbon-style font.  Like I said, everything really is there.  (Okay, Meg Ryan isn’t there, but is that so bad of an omission?)

30 Second Romantic Comedy is even well made, so it’s not like your date/significant other can try to zap you for picking a lousy movie, either.  Writer/Director Rebecca Holopter does everything right here.  The cast is brilliant.  It’s a perfect solution, I tell you!

With that said, if you actually try what I’ve just suggested, it’s worth noting that the fine folks at 30Films did not make a follow up all-night epic called Spending the Night Alone on the Couch, so at that point, you’re back to being on your own.

All kidding aside, though, you can probably guess that I don’t normally go for romantic comedies.  (Sure, there are exceptions, like, say, Jet Lag, but how can you go wrong with Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno?  But anyway.)  The fact that I’ve watched 30 Second Romantic Comedy half a dozen times and laughed every single time should tell you what an amazing job Rebecca Holopter and her 30Films cohorts have done.  If you can make a movie – however long or short – that someone automatically disinclined to like your genre of choice can enjoy, you’ve done something right.

And that “something right” is more than just displaying an excellent knowledge of rom-com clichés with her script.  (Though I will say that having it end at the airport while the heroine is still wearing her wedding dress is outstanding.)  It’s also knowing how to film them.  Look at the “Sam Vant!” / “Amy Walker!” clip.  There’s easily five full minutes of scene played out in barely over a second’s worth of film.  That doesn’t just happen.  That’s setup.  That’s blocking. That’s getting every detail perfect before the camera rolls and knowing for a fact that everyone will get it right.  Not convinced?  Keep watching, because she’ll do it again with the next scene.  And the next scene.  It may take thirty seconds to watch, but you can be very sure that Rebecca Holopter gave her work in the director’s chair more than thirty seconds’ worth of effort.

Credit also needs to be given to the cast, some of whom literally only have a second to make an impression.  Verity Butler does a great job as the heroine, playing her in a way that perfectly matches the genre stereotype (she cries very convincingly) while somehow managing to not be obnoxious about it.  (I knew I liked her better than Meg Ryan!)  However, I will also say that the show is completely stolen by two members of the supporting cast.

The runner-up there is Jimmy Callahan (Dangerous) as Mr. Vant.  He gets exactly two seconds of screen time and has one line.  I have laughed out loud at that line every time I’ve heard it, even though I’ve known it was coming for the last five go-rounds.  The line itself is kind of funny and plays very well to one of the genre’s more famous clichés, but it’s the delivery that makes it every time funny.  Way to make an impression, Mr. Callahan!

With that said, the hands-down winner is T. J. Pederson (Entanglements of a Dangerous Mind) as Seviin, the gay guy, with yet another major honorable mention to Rebecca Holopter for doing his makeup.  Pederson takes the character and doesn’t just run with him; he goes for a marathon with him.  And yet, though he plays the role to the hilt, he also keeps it real, which is a very fine line to be running that marathon along.  I truly can’t say enough about this performance.  It’s better and more effective than most of what you’ll find out of any given Hollywood feature on any given week, guaranteed.  “You go get that man!”  That’s laughing until you wipe your eyes material right there.

Bottom line, even if you don’t like romantic comedies as a rule, there’s plenty to enjoy about 30 Second Romantic Comedy, and that’s not a joke about its brevity or its brilliant lack of Meg Ryan this time.  Indeed, it really does work as a light bit for a date… just don’t try to use it as a license to throw on an hour and a half of Jason Voorhees right afterward.  Unless, of course, your date is actually into that sort of thing, in which case, your date is awesome.

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, April, 2012


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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