While “How to Cheat’s” title refers to one hapless slacker’s half-hearted attempts to add some extramarital sizzle to his sex life, it’s the audience that is most likely to feel cheated by how little Amber Sealey’s banal second feature (after 2008’s “A Plus D”) has to offer. A distressingly thin slice of frustrated middle-class ennui cut from the scrappy mumblecore mold, this far-too-mellow drama demonstrates how loosely scripted, semi-autobiographical micro-indies fail to excite once the collaborators involved settle down and get jobs. With buyers shying away from such DIY fare of late, Sealey could be learning how to self-distribute.
Mark (an overly exhibitionistic Kent Osborne) loves his wife (lower-key Sealey) but hates work, and lately, even sex has lost its fun as the couple tries to get pregnant. So Mark embarks on an implausible plan to get laid, with Sealey — as both character and writer-director — doing her best to empathize. Sadly, the hapless hubby’s efforts are neither amusing nor enlightening, which merely calls attention to the film’s under-drawn characters and nonexistent production values. Still, Amanda Street shines as the unpredictable date sad/desperate enough to sleep with Mark.