Director Michael David Lynch‘s DEPENDENT’S DAY is a romantic comedy about a man who is claimed as a dependent on the taxes of his much more monetarily successful girlfriend, and how that inequality affects their relationship. Cam goes to great lengths to bring in his share of money in the relationship and prove himself worthy to his friends, his girlfriend Alice, and to himself. This film tackles an important issue that affects a lot of people who try to make a living in the creative arts and eschew the traditional 9 to 5 job. How do you stay fulfilled in your life, and in your relationship when the odds are so stacked against you? How long with your significant other put up with you “finding yourself”, before they find someone else? It also asks the question if money is more important than happiness?
Cam’s character has the stink of desperation on him and it’s awkward to see him try so hard to ingratiate himself to people in the film industry. It’s hard to watch because I’ve seen it so many times before as a film critic, and just living in Los Angeles in general. It’s all too familiar. That it’s hard to watch certainly isn’t a dig on the film, but rather a compliment on the acting ability of Joe Burke for being able to put himself in that vulnerable place, exposing aspects of himself that he’s probably had to train himself over time to tone down.
Benita Robledo plays Alice as more than just “the girlfriend” in this romantic comedy. She plays one of the most “real” girlfriends I’ve seen portrayed this kind of movie in a long time. Alice’s character has a well-rounded life, friends, job, and problems outside of her relationship with Cam. She tries hard to accept Cam for who he is, and tries, in her own way, to help him accomplish his goals, even going as far as to get him a job as a secretary at her work, which doesn’t quite go as planned.
The chemistry between the two leads, Cam (Joe Burke) and Alice (Benita Robledo) is great and it’s totally believable that these two might be in a relationship. The movie doesn’t suffer from the typical romantic comedy trope of the average guy getting the girl in the traditional sense. You can really see how Cam’s sense of humor and appearance would be attractive to Alice. Their differences compliment each other rather than detract. The interaction with the other characters is natural and the dialogue rings true. The arguments between Cam and Alice are hilariously on the nose to how real couples argue.
DEPENDENT’S DAY does a great job in the sound and framing department, but suffers a bit editorially. There are scenes where it feels like there are too many cuts between actors rather than just allowing the scenes to play out naturally. Additionally there are some Los Angeles flyover scene changes that occur too frequently, especially in the first 10 minutes of the film. There are some great cameos (Todd Bridges, Lisa Ann Walter, and Brian George for example) in the film and they really comedically elevate the scenes they’re in.
It is only after getting some distance from each other that Cam and Alice truly come into their own. Alice gets her dream job, and Cam comes into his own and claims some responsibility and self-respect for himself. It’s really satisfying when Alice and Cam come back together in the end, definitely stronger individually, and as a couple.
DEPENDENT'S DAY Review
FILM SYNOPSIS - Claimed as a 'dependent' by his successful bread-winning girlfriend Alice, Cam struggles to prove himself as he stumbles through different jobs and life's obstacles in the hopes to live out his Hollywood dream and finally rise to the occasion. "Dependent's Day" is a hilarious, heartfelt, authentic relationship comedy about the adventures of being in love and making it work.