Skills Like This
committing a felony an appropriate cure for career malaise?
is the question asked by indie film Skills Like This, in which a
struggling playwright of dubious talent gets over his latest theatrical
failure by compulsively deciding to rob a local bank.
not a well thought-out plan Ė mostly done on the fly Ė which is perhaps why
it actually worked. The guy really doesnít care about the money Ė later he
is completely ambivalent to the idea of whether he should keep it or give it
However, it begs the question Ė once youíve felt that kind of excitement can
you really go back to failure as usual? What if robbery is his one true
Also, it brings up a side complication. Once you have robbed a cute bank
teller, can you really just go back and ask her out like nothing ever
you can see, Skills Like This is trying itís damnedest to be quirky
and cutting edge Ė and yet in many ways it is old-fashioned and square.
begins a movie that is equally charming and frustrating, often funny and
occasionally cringe-inducingly off base (the supposedly quirky scene where
one of our heroís best buddies leeringly catcalls a nine-year-old girl at a
playground comes immediately to mind.).
Skills Like This
is also one of the least realistic films Iíve ever seen. Not that romantic
comedies Ė which this essentially becomes Ė have to be true to life, but
this one is more unlikely than most.
problem, I suppose, is that I donít share Skills Like Thisís romantic
take on crime. I donít see it as a talent or a skill or even a rite of
passage, but I recognize that some people do and Skills is stubbornly
non-violent, so I will give it a pass.
relationship that Max (star and screenwriter Spencer Berger) has with
gorgeous teller Lucy (Kerry Knuppe) is both terribly romantic and absolutely
absurd. Itís essentially wish fulfillment for guys.
Frankly, from the way Lucy acts, she may just be
the stupidest woman in the world. When she recognizes him at a bar the day
of the robbery, she doesnít turn him in, but instead hangs in a crowded bar
with the man who robbed the bank. Then she invites said bank robber to her
home and seduces him. Tells him to stay at her apartment for the day Ė even
though all she really knows about this guy is that he steals things.
Despite the fact that she really did not have a part in the robbery, now
anyone in the world would assume she was always a co-conspirator with this
know that they are trying to make it cute and romantic, but it just makes no
sense for her. Itís not like there is some smoldering sexual attraction Ė
heís a white, slightly dorky looking guy with a huge Afro. LadyÖ the 70s
are over! Then later, she tries to break up with him because he stole a
statue for her. Heís a thief, you knew that when you seduced him. Donít
act surprised now.
on the other hand, is much more inscrutable. He continues doing little
crimes but seems to get no real joy from them Ė and he gives away all of his
proceeds. He would rather nearly destroy his old junker of a car than pay
the parking ticket to get the boot off his car. He hangs with two wacky
friends with whom he seems to have little in common. He is open about his
crimes to the point that he apparently wants to get caught and yet he
doesnít offer to give himself up until it all hits the fan.
even though I really didnít believe it for a second, I kind of enjoyed the
quirky world that Berger has created in this little film. It was obviously
built for cult acceptance and I can see it finding its goofy little niche.
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: February 1, 2009.