A friendship becomes complicated in weird, but humorous comedy
Sony Pictures Classics and Monmouth Arts occasionally offers a special screening of one of their films. “The Climb,” which is set to come out next year, is a film that left me guessing. Since I never saw the trailer, I knew I was in for a surprise. It’s an artisan film that left me concerned about its weird choices and direction, but at the same time, it has a good heart and a sense of humor.
The following is based on a short film created by and starring Michael Angelo Covino (the co-writer and director) and Kyle Marvin (the co-writer), and it’s also based on their friendship, which took U-turns along the way.
We meet two best friends named Mike and Kyle, taking a bike ride in France, where they discuss about Kyle’s upcoming wedding. Given the fact that Mike is his best man, he admits to him about his affair with his fiancee. Not only is he demoted from the position, but he also marries the girl, until she passes away, leaving Mike a total mess.
Years later, Kyle has grown distant from Mike, and moves on with his ex-girlfriend from high school, Marissa (Gayle Rankin from “GLOW”), whom Mike and his family (George Wendt and Talia Balsam as his parents, and Daniella Covino and Eden Malyn as his sisters) dislikes, and she pushes him to be a better person. They announce the news off their engagement at Thanksgiving, and Mike visits his family on Christmas. That’s when Kyle’s mother chastises him for his selfish choices, which threw everything off track.
Mike tries and fails to get Kyle to call off the wedding, but mostly, we root for him to get himself together. Well, at least, we try to.
“The Climb” shows us a friendship that becomes broken, because of a selfish choice. It also shows us it can be fixed without the typical movie cliches, especially if one drinks too much and the other wants to mature himself. I’ve never heard of Mike and Kyle, but seeing them together on screen really moved me. Their sense of humor is broad and honest, while at the same time, their drama questions if they can really still be best friends.
It is weird at times, because of how Mike has trouble controlling his attitude and behavior, and how we see Marissa as a pushy woman. We, the audience, acknowledge the reality here, but maybe there are good reasons for these directions. I can’t say for sure, because life has no script. “The Climb” has a script, and it’s somber.
In Select Theaters March 20, 2020