Here’s a wild idea: A romantic comedy (“rom-com,” if you’re feeling frisky) about how bad romantic comedies are. Cinematic gold! That’s what Justin Reardon’s Playing It Cool appears to be going for, wrapping up a pretty standard-sounding rom-com storyline (guy meets girl, girl has a boyfriend, unrequited love persists, albeit kind of charmingly) in a whole mess of self-loathing trappings. A rom-com that hates romance? What is this world coming to?
At least Playing It Cool has one hell of a charming cast to bolster it, and if this is how we get to watch Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan fall in love on the big screen, so be it. Evans stars in the feature as a struggling writer—one who balks at penning rom-coms to make rent, har har har!—who has never experienced anything close to true love. Evans’ character (hilariously referred to just as “Narrator” on the film’s IMDb page) is handsome, sweet, and creative, so it’s a little surprising that he can’t find love, but these are the constraints of this anti-rom-com rom-com, so just go with it. Of course, then he meets Monaghan’s “Her,” and all bets are off. He’s found love; it’s just too bad that she’s got a smoothie of a boyfriend blocking the path to their happily ever after.
Or is that boyfriend really to blame? We’re going to hazard a guess here, but we bet that Narrator’s inability to show affection and love like most other normal humans isn’t going to help matters much. At least Aubrey Plaza and Topher Grace are there to crack wise, while Evans’ entire worldview crumbles around him. Ain’t love grand?
The trail of the tape
Title: Playing It Cool
Director: Justin Reardon
Screenwriters: Chris Shafer, Paul Vicknair
Cast: Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Topher Grace, Anthony Mackie, Aubrey Plaza, Philip Baker Hall
Release date: 2015
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “Rom-coms aren’t true, there what we wish were true.”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
But when is someone going to make a rom-com about Philip Baker Hall falling in love? We would like that very much.