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My Best Day

Witty, wacky, multicharacter comedy "My Best Day" features a rural milieu that's authentically American.

With:
With: Rachel Style, Ashlie Atkinson, Raul Castillo, Jo Armeniox, Robert Salerno, Harris Doran.

Witty, wacky, multicharacter comedy “My Best Day” features a rural milieu that’s authentically American: a place where people don’t have health care, run out of gas, get places by walking the train tracks, and don’t even envy each other either. The talented cast of helmer Erin Greenwell’s debut consists of unknowns, which is likely what relegated the film to Sundance’s avant-gardish Next section, an odd placement considering how much this accessible, entertaining item embodies what used to be considered indie spirit.

Filmed largely in rural Pennsylvania, the pic is set on the Fourth of July in a town where everyone’s a character: Karen (Rachel Style) is working the holiday at the local refrigerator repair shop when she gets a call from a man (Hunt Block) who could be her long lost father. Her friend Meagan (Ashlie Atkinson) agrees to come along and pretend to fix the fridge, so Karen can maybe meet her father — and perhaps her sister, Stacey (Jo Armeniox), whom she hasn’t seen since they were kids, as Stacey went to live with Dad after their parents divorced.

Meagan and Karen are told by Eugene (Harris Doran), who’s Dad’s boyfriend, though no one admits it, that Stacey has a serious gambling problem. Stacey’s younger brother Ray (the precocious Robert Salerno), whose existence is not explained, wears wrestling tights and has a yen for Kathy (Haley Murphy), who works the cash register at the local deli.

Meagan has a hankering for a used motorcycle, which she rides down to the local hangout to impress Heather (Kate McKinnon), whom she’s sweet on, ticking off her main squeeze, Amy (Molly Lloyd), a nurse at the local hospital.

One of the funnier threads in the film is Eugene’s search for “meatless meat” for the barbecue, because Ray wants to impress Kathy, who’s a vegetarian. Anyone who’s ever tried to eat vegan in Middle America will sympathize with Eugene, although his problem isn’t really meatless meat; rather, it’s about being different, and the film’s message is how people cope with it.

Greenwell doesn’t need a big budget and big names to get that thought across, although the film has a consistency of tone that indicates she could do more with more. Tech credits are good; Greenwell and d.p. Adam Benn eschew handheld or grainy textures in favor of clear, coherent high-def, leaving any unfocused chaos in the minds of the characters.

My Best Day

Production: A Smithy production in association with H Over Walking Y Prods. Produced by Erin Harper. Executive producer, Beth Bogart. Co-executive producers, Renee Cohen, Margo Cook. Directed, written by Erin Greenwell.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Adam Benn; editor, Babak Rassi; music, Terry Dame; production designer, James Gloria; sound, Jonathan L. Matthews; sound designer, David Briggs; supervising sound editor, David Briggs; assistant director, Diane Bonsignore; associate producers, Ashlie Atkinson, Rachel Style, Sara M. Ingram, Act Zero Films. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Next), Jan. 22, 2012. Running time: 75 MIN.

Cast: With: Rachel Style, Ashlie Atkinson, Raul Castillo, Jo Armeniox, Robert Salerno, Harris Doran.

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