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First Date (Sundance 2021); Grade: D+

Strictly Films welcomes you back to more coverage of this years Sundance Film Festival! Our next film on the block: First Date... I can sure use one of those, Da Boy needs some love.

First Date tells a story about Mike (Tyson Brown) who surprisingly landed a date with the cutest girl on his block Kelsey (Shelby Duclos). Mike promised to pick Kelsey up, but unfortunately Mike can't use the car due to the fact his parents are going out of town this weekend. So Mike does what every young adult does, when they don't have a car for a date... They buy a piece of crap from a car dealer off of craigslist. Mike will then on enjoy a nice first date with Kelsey... WRONG. Mike will encounter many problems along the way involving his acquisition in the car. Whether it be a crazy wife, drug dealers, or shady cops... Mike will have to go through a whole lot of bs to get to his date with Kelsey.

The Cinematography t'was odd. I say odd due to the fact the way this film was shot, reminded me of a live action Nickelodeon film... I haven't watched one in so long, but the style of this film from a visual standpoint, just screamed out Nickelodeon for some reason. Especially visually speaking whenever the camera is centered on Mike... He just looks like some character you see out of those movies, it doesn't resemble the tone at all so it was kind of distracting for me. The Score was fine, I don't remember much of it, but I do remember I didn't have any issues with the music.

The cast was... Meh. Tyson Brown playing Mike had an alright performance. At first Mike appeared to be a likable character, as you can relate to his shy nature of always wanting to take this girl he really likes out, but could never do so due to fear of rejection. But as time goes on... The choices he makes doesn't make much sense. More towards the car purchase... Why would you waste all your money on a car, for one night?! Like Kelsey said: You should've just let her know you don't have a car to use, or better yet be a baller and use Uber... It's freaking 2020, everyone uses Uber, Uber is cost efficient compared to wasting it all on a piece of crap. I think he's suitable as a protagonist, you obviously feel bad for him as he goes through a lot of bs. Kelsey played by Shelby Duclos had a fine performance. My best compliment for her performance t'was the lone action scene she did, I thought that was pretty cool.

Supporting cast were fine, however majority of the characters were completely idiotic. Regarding the drug dealers... There is an extremely easy way to go about getting your car back, in fact there are two easy ways to go on about achieving this. You either bring the original guy that sold him the car, as he can claim he made a mistake on selling the car, as Mike would happily get his money and give him back his car, because you know... The car is a piece of junk. The other way... You bring one of your goons to Mike, threaten Mike to give them the keys to the car, put the keys in the ignition, and drive off. What these goons fail to understand is Mike doesn't know what's inside the car, all Mike knows from his own experience is the car is a piece of crap, and that he wasted his money on it. So Mike is not going to break is back if you request the car back or steal the car, Mike knows it's not worth it. So I don't understand... Why these goons do the most over the top thing they can do, to get this car back?! It's common sense really, like sheesh.

As for the shady cops... Was it really necessary?! Not only were the characters written as a poorly written comedic gag, but when the epic reveal appears changing these once respected cops into shady cops... It just felt like a typical cliche I've seen thousands of times before. Take the shady cops out of the story and it would honestly not change a single thing in the story, but it would help because the story is over barring to begin with, so why add this now?!

When I saw the poster reveal for First Date, I thought it was going to be a fun slasher movie, as I made my purchase. It may not be a slasher movie, but First Date as a concept alone on paper had potential to be fun. The set up for First Date looked like it was going to be an enjoyable, fun time, filled with laughs... Then an hour and twenty minutes later... Not so much. The film suffers from pacing issues, as it felt extremely long. It also doesn't help the fact this film is extremely over barring, where there is so much happening that you can't quite comprehend what exactly your watching?! A few too many side plots that could be cut down in half. Honestly they should've just made this as simple as they can, without trying so hard to be this big thing, as the end result resemble to some below average comedy crime action film I've seen about a thousand times before.

Overall, First Date like the car Mike bought... It was a piece of crap. I don't recommend checking this one out. -Mitch Smietana

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