Loveband, Written by Nicola Pedrozzi
If the story of Loveband sounds familiar, it is because it reflects Hollywood’s preference for the successful subgenre of the ‘bro-com’. Like the perennial ‘rom-com’, it has a clever name and collects large audiences. But instead of boy-meets-girl, the bro-com focusses on comedic themes of male heterosexuality in America; in a review of The Interview (a notorious recent addition to the subgenre) in The New York Times, A. O. Scott calls the movie ‘a goofy, strenuously naughty, hit-and-miss farce, propelled not by any particular political ideas but by the usual spectacle of male sexual, emotional and existential confusion’. This is a good summary of the kinds of themes that drive what Scott calls ‘the raunchy bro-com genre’: these are films that traffic in clever stupidity and that detail the escapades of the American male heterosexual (usually several of them). Although the genre’s name is new, its themes predate film.
Loveband fits neatly within the concept of the modern bro-com. Luke, Omar, Vincent, and Eric form a band and name it ‘Loveband’ – after the first letters of each of their names. The men are in their early thirties: young enough to feel directionless and old enough to feel nostalgic for their earlier years. Creating the band requires old high school friends Omar, Vincent, and Eric to reunite. (Luke comes up with the idea and name for the band.) What inspires the band in the first place? Luke discovers an old record of Omar’s from high school by a band called ‘The Svandals’: featuring Omar on keyboards, Vincent on bass, and Eric on drums. Hence the reunion of friends, the nostalgia, the new band. But there is another inevitable motivator: ‘Ever met a girl who doesn’t like musicians?!’ Luke asks Omar.
They all have relationship issues, and the quest for a mate underpins the whole story. Vincent lives with his grandmother and still obsesses over his high school girlfriend, Maria, whom he texts constantly – and who seems to have stopped responding years ago. Eric is a successful investment banker whose cash, car, diamonds, and mansion are insufficient to keep his wife from flagrantly cheating on him. Omar, for his part, objectifies every woman that he meets, including the ones on his virtual dating site. Luke is the odd one out, his head constantly in a book titled Find Your Perfect Match: he wants love, but he has problematic expectations of his own.
Their adventures make up a Hollywood bro-com from outside Hollywood. (The writer, Nicola Pedrozzi, hails from Switzerland). And the winding plot, funny characters, and great storytelling make it worthwhile. Like The Interview, this film features a secretive American government agency and international criminals whose involvement in the lives of these four young men emphasises the bandmates’ silliness and obliviousness. Sideplots add depth to the story, but at times these numerous asides leave the overall plot feeling directionless. Loveband is convincing because of its jokes, which are well-written, playful, and Hollywood-esque. (Even the descriptions in the screenplay are funny.) Taken too far, however, the characters and the work itself become jokes: they sometimes lose their substance to the isolated and fleeting gag – funny for a moment, but at the expense of the film as a whole. ■
Length: 103 pages
Genre: Comedy, Bro-Com, Feature, Screenplay
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The writer of Loveband is Nicola Pedrozzi, an independent Swiss writer and artist.
This critical review was commissioned and sponsored by the filmmaker.
Featured Image: iStock.com/LiliGraphie.