In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Writer/director Alex Holdridge’s dispatch from the frontline of the LA dating scene is exactly what it depicts: a witty, slight affair. Wilson (Scoot McNairy) is a detached single desperate for a date to provide him with a midnight kiss that will allow him to see in the New Year with hope. After putting a ‘misanthrope seeks misanthrope’ advert on Craigslist, he meets Vivian (Sara Simmonds), an aspiring actress who may or may not match Wilson’s emotional unavailability.
Both are gripped by a need to escape unhappiness in their pasts, the couple muddle their way through some scenic LA locations, intercut with a subplot following Wilson’s flatmate Jacob (Brian McGuire) and his attempts to propose to Min (Kathleen Luong).
In Search of a Midnight Kiss is flawed by an overtly self-effacing central character who, like the film, is so desperate to be liked that it’s off-putting. And unlike the free-flowing conversation of Jesse and Celine in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Sunset films, Holdridge unwisely attempts to shoehorn a supposedly spontaneous evening into the old-hat structure of a conventional rom-com.
Yet it’s impossible to feel too mean-spirited about a film that ends with the central characters giving an off-key and seriously hungover rendition of the Scorpions’ power-rock anthem ‘Wind of Change’. Acerbic and warmly human throughout, Holdridge’s debut feature rises to provide the same mixture of crude sexual chat with sophistication that makes it worth a look for admirers of Clerks or Knocked Up.
Selected release from Fri 13 Jun.