Review: ‘I’d Rather Be … Gone’

Amy Kelly, left, Maria Breaux and

Quirky, unpredictable humor keeps the indie lesbian seriocomedy "I'd Rather Be ... Gone" watchable until it becomes clear no master plan exists to tie together the very loose, multicharacter strands. An intriguing sensibility bubbles beneath Maria Breaux's vid-shot feature, but by the end its utter lack of plot momentum and focus exhausts viewer.

Quirky, unpredictable humor keeps the indie lesbian seriocomedy “I’d Rather Be … Gone” watchable until it becomes clear no master plan exists to tie together the very loose, multicharacter strands. An intriguing sensibility bubbles beneath Maria Breaux’s vid-shot feature, but by the end its utter lack of plot momentum and focus exhausts viewer goodwill. Marginal cassette and gay fest exposure is signaled.

Writer-helmer plays Michelle, a San Franciscan in midlife crisis over her boring computer programmer job and live-in g.f.’s recent walkout. Taking a month’s sabbatical to regroup, she soon finds her one-bedroom apartment invaded by even needier women: First “temporarily” homeless, substance-abusive chaos magnet Rocky (Csilla Horvath), then closeted schoolteacher April (Amy Kelly), who’s just blown her own employment/relationship security. Trio eventually road-trip to L.A., the journey presumably (if murkily) shaking each from individual paralysis.

It’s anyone’s guess why Michelle lets these two wreck her much-needed solitude or, indeed, why they’re friends at all — by personality-clashing nature, all three annoy one another no end. Horvath’s droll nut case and Kelly’s Kay Ballard-like loudmouth have inspired moments, as do several supporting players. But Kelly (who developed story with Breaux) often seems to be acting in a much broader comedy of her own, while pic’s meandering, anecdotal setpieces lead to no deeper character insight or narrative payoff. Results are more trivial than the many incidental laughs can compensate for. Next time out, one hopes promising talent Breaux relies less on improv and more on brass-tacks screenplay structuring. Shoestring production’s tech aspects are OK.

I'd Rather Be ... Gone

Production

A Ragamuff production. Produced, directed, screenplay by Maria Breaux.

Crew

Camera (color, HD video), Aaron McIlvain, Tonje Hoel; editor, Marisol McIlvain; costume designer, Cynthia Billops; sound, Aaron McIlvain, Jim Granato. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 22, 2001. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Maria Breaux, Amy Kelly, Csilla Horvath, June Sparagna, Sarah Fatemi, Marisol McIlvain, Aaron McIlvain, Bob Martinez.
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