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In Search of a Midnight Kiss (3 stars)

(15) 99min

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In Search of a Midnight Kiss

COMEDY/ROMANCE

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.

In Search of a Midnight Kiss

  • 3 stars
  • 2008
  • US
  • 99 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Alex Holdridge
  • Written by: Alex Holdridge
  • Cast: Scoot McNairy, Sara Simmonds, Brian McGuire, Kathleen Luong, Twink Caplan, Robert Murphy

Holdridge's acerbic and warmly human dispatch from the frontline of the LA dating scene sees Wilson (McNairy) desperately searching for a date to provide him with a New Year's kiss. After putting an advert on Craigslist, he meets Vivian (Simmonds), an aspiring actress who may or may not match Wilson's emotional…

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