Control Alt Delete -- indie darling or computer crash?

Post by Kerri Brkich in

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A man and his PC – Lewis Henderson in Control Alt Delete

The write-up in the press kit for Control Alt Delete, a local indie film opening in Vancouver this Friday, promised a quirky comedy that focused on a computer geek staring down Y2K in the dying days of 1999, who begins an illicit affair with, wait for it, his computer. The problems really begin when his wandering eye turns to his co-workers PCs…

Control Alt Delete is written and directed by Cameron Labine, and it’s his first foray into feature filmmaking. It stars his brother Tyler Labine (Reaper, Boston Legal) as Lewis Henderson, the computer programmer with a dark secret. Sonja Bennett, Keith Dallas, Alisen Down, Geoff Gustafson, and Jonathon Young round out the cast.

My sense is the filmmakers were going for an outlandish comedy with a hint of social commentary around sexual alienation, or deviation, and the fear of discovery. They succeeded brilliantly on the outlandish bit, but the comedy was routine and they missed the mark on any kind of social commentary.

With the exception of “Jane,” the characters came off as a little two dimensional, and there were times I felt like I was watching a pervier version of Office Space. Labine’s “Lewis” is sweet, but soulless, and when the main sex scenes involve a dude drilling holes in his computer so he can have his way with it, you better make sure the audience understands his motivation and connects with the character, otherwise you’ve just made yourself a fetish film.

And that’s where it fell short for me. I get it, he’s a geek who’s more interested in code than his girlfriend, but why should I care? Without sympathetic characters there’s no cohesive core that moves the story forward, and things plod along from scene to scene. Even the “climax” (and I mean that in more ways than one) of the movie felt forced, and in the final scene Jane should have kicked Lewis’ ass to the curb, if for nothing else than (spoiler alert) he got her fired.

I love quirky, outlandish comedy—when it’s done right. Control Alt Delete has a lot of potential, but more attention needed to be paid to character development and story arc, especially to pull off the subject matter.

Control Alt Delete opens in Vancouver on Friday, April 23 at the Tinseltown Theatre. A special opening weekend party is being held at the Wild Ginger, 88 West Pender Street, in the Tinseltown Mall, directly after the first evening screening. It’s open to the public and attendees get a free pint of beer when they present their ticket stub for Control Alt Delete. Cast and filmmakers will be in attendance.

- post by Kerri

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