Despite warm reception by hometown crowd at Austin’s SXSW Film Festival, where pic won top audience and jury prizes for narrative feature, Alex Holdridge’s filmed-in-Austin “Sexless” may be luckless in seeking aud beyond fest circuit. Modestly amusing relationship comedy often plays like a slacker version of “Annie Hall.” Trouble is, writer-director Holdridge invites unfavorable comparisons by stressing similarities to Woody Allen’s 1977 classic.
Holdridge is short of charismatic as Andy, twentysomething would-be playwright considering marriage to live-in girlfriend Karen (Kelly Dealyn) so couple can accept overseas teaching jobs. At once wary of commitment and restless in their relationship, Andy proposes they live apart during month before wedding. Karen agrees, allowing Andy to experiment with other partners. When she does the same, however, he’s predictably peeved. Parallel subplot with Brian McGuire and Camille Chen as best friends who tentatively evolve into lovers is funnier, but sketchily developed. Like Alvy Singer, Allen’s alter ego in “Annie Hall,” Andy transforms his messy love life into a tightly disciplined play (with, naturally, a happy ending), then waxes wistful about love while directly addressing camera during finale. Tech values are typical for low budget.