×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Pros and Cons of Breathing

"The Pros and Cons of Breathing" is the latest incarnation of the several-guys-sitting-around-talking subgenre. It is neither the worst nor the best of the breed. Rather, it shows first-time writer-director Robert Munic's technical prowess and his need for some remedial storytelling classes. The imbalance does not bode well for the venture's commercial life. Limited theatrical prospects could muster modest interest in ancillary areas.

With:
Shirley ... Joey Lauren Adams Tippy ... Phillip Brock Tony ... Joey Dedeo Bradley ... Ira Heiden Troy ... Philip Tanzini Ira ... Barry Sobel Canbi ... Noelle Parker Homeless Vet ... Robert Munic

“The Pros and Cons of Breathing” is the latest incarnation of the several-guys-sitting-around-talking subgenre. It is neither the worst nor the best of the breed. Rather, it shows first-time writer-director Robert Munic’s technical prowess and his need for some remedial storytelling classes. The imbalance does not bode well for the venture’s commercial life. Limited theatrical prospects could muster modest interest in ancillary areas.

The basic focus is on four twentysomething young men who hang out at a subdued Los Angeles club. The entertainment equivalent of the multiethnic platoon in war movies, the group is comprised of an actor (Joey Dedeo), an agent (Ira Heiden), a standup comic (Phillip Brock) and a director (Philip Tanzini).

Essential to this type of endeavor is a crisp script, brimming with wit and etched with vivid characterization. It should be noted that this element falls into the “Cons” section of the title.

Munic’s narrative vision is almost uniformly bleak, in sharp contrast to the slick, sharp images of the club and its surroundings. It is fraught with lost jobs, lost roles and financial catastrophe. Coupled with characters dogged by self-doubts, the overall mood is not exactly something to snuggle up with on a chilly night. Worse, the tale provides little insight into the human condition under pressure circumstances.

Curiously, the story is narrated by someone outside the group — Shirley (Joey Lauren Adams), a waitress at the club and onetime girlfriend of one of the members of the quartet. If the four men appear callow, the young woman is downright grating as she reports the mundane details of individual fortunes as if reading a news report. A bit more irony would have sweetened the recipe.

While the material is rooted in the banal and melodramatic, Munic effects a rather savvy visual style. Technically, he avoids the obvious pitfall of claustrophobia in his scene construction. Though produced on a modest budget, the film’s ills have little to do with surface polish.

Apart from Adams, the cast rises at least to the level of the script and generally a notch or two above. The actors have the exceedingly thankless task of attempting to make their flawed and unsympathetic losers at least semi- palatable.

The Pros and Cons of Breathing

Production: A Chi-Boy production. Produced by Steve Hart. Directed, written by Robert Munic.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor), Steve Adcock; editor, Michael Waterhouse; production design, Donna Kaczmarek; costumes, Phillip Mershon; sound (Ultra Stereo), David Aron; assistant director, Joan Bostwick. Reviewed at Chicago Film Festival, Oct. 17, 1993. Running Time: 89 MINS.

With: Shirley ... Joey Lauren Adams Tippy ... Phillip Brock Tony ... Joey Dedeo Bradley ... Ira Heiden Troy ... Philip Tanzini Ira ... Barry Sobel Canbi ... Noelle Parker Homeless Vet ... Robert Munic

More Film

  • Mid 90s

    Jonah Hill's 'mid90s,' Pauline Kael Documentary to Screen in Berlin's Panorama Section

    Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, “mid90s,” about a 13-year-old skateboarder’s coming of age, and a documentary on influential film critic Pauline Kael are among the works that will screen in the Panorama section of the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. Films starring Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell and titles from countries including Israel, Brazil and Japan were [...]

  • 'Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Readies

    ‘Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Readies 'Weathering'

    Three years after the animation “Your Name” began its long triumphant reign over the Japanese and international box office, its director Makoto Shinkai has announced his next animated feature. Titled “Weathering With You,” the film will arrive in theaters in Japan on July 19 of next year, with Toho distributing. Set in a world where [...]

  • Berlin: The Match Factory Boards New

    Berlin: The Match Factory Boards Competition Titles From Fatih Akin, Emin Alper (EXCLUSIVE)

    German indie powerhouse The Match Factory will handle world sales on two Berlin Film Festival competition titles: German director Fatih Akin’s serial-killer chiller “The Golden Glove” and Turkish director Emin Alper’s family drama “A Tale of Three Sisters.”  Akin, a Hamburg native whose “Head-On” won the Golden Bear in 2004, is returning to the Berlinale [...]

  • First-Look Image Revealed for ‘Monday,’ Starring

    First-Look Image Revealed for ‘Monday,’ Starring ‘Captain America’s’ Sebastian Stan

    The first-look image from Greek director Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ “Monday,” starring Sebastian Stan – best known for “I, Tonya” and the “Captain America” movies – and “Colette’s” Denise Gough, has been released. Protagonist Pictures will launch international sales on the pic in Berlin. “Monday” follows the story of Mickey (Stan) and Chloe (Gough), two Americans in [...]

  • The Wedding

    Film Review: 'The Wedding'

    Two considerations need to exist side by side when discussing “The Wedding,” the debut feature of Egyptian-American multihyphenate Sam Abbas. One involves the film itself, a dull slice of Lower Manhattan mumblecore about a heterosexual New York couple fitfully planning their wedding until she discovers his gay dalliance. The other, getting the lion’s share of [...]

  • The Best Gifts For Film Buffs

    Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts For Film Buffs

    Whether you know a film buff who needs to upgrade their collection, or you just want to upgrade your movie nights at home, here are eight gifts that will cast your favorite flicks in a whole new light. 1. Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema: The Criterion Collection Thirty-nine films from the legendary Swedish filmmaker are collected in [...]

  • Ansel Elgort The Great High School

    Film News Roundup: Ansel Elgort to Star in 'The Great High School Imposter'

    In today’s film news roundup, Ansel Elgort is going to high school, “Rockaway” gets a release, and “Suspiria” producer Bradley Fischer is honored. CASTING Ansel Elgort has come aboard to star in the drama “The Great High School Imposter” for Participant Media and Condé Nast Entertainment. The project is based on a Daniel Riley GQ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content