Monday, 22 November 2021

After We Fell (2021) - Movie Review

What a curious little series this has turned into. The first film is still a garbage fire behind a gasoline refinery, but past that point, these films have basically turned into everything I wanted out of the Fifty Shades series: Silly, phenomenally stupid, but almost endearing in their asininity and willingness to entertain on those terms. And as the third of a proposed four (possibly five) film series, After We Fell is more of the same unhealthy junk food that came before, only it’s lacking in even the most basic of narrative fibre by this point.

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship has gotten to the point where they’re in their own little time loop narrative. Not by the strictest definition, but in how they seem to be in a perpetual cycle of make-up sex and the contrived tensions leading up to said make-up sex. When the characters themselves are realising that the only thing worth seeing here is themselves banging, like in the infamous mirror scene, all manner of pretence has been thrown out the window. Not that it’s stopped trying to be cutesy with literary references (we get Jane Austen and The Great Gatsby popping their heads in at times); just that they’re even more of an afterthought than they were before.

There’s still a lot to dig through as far as the lead relationship, which has officially gotten to the point of a Freudian case study in action with the Oedipus complex in Hardin and the now-established Elektra complex in Tessa (their married life will be full of her yelling at Hardin for not eating his din-dins, I’m sure). But quite frankly, when the story is this thin and basically held together with condom latex, it’s all perfunctory at this point. It’s fanfiction writing at its purest, where anything and everything that takes place is just part of the larger machine meant to keep the two leads in bed together; kinda like the haunted house from Buffy’s Where The Wild Things Are, and about as difficult to take seriously.

But again, much like with After We Collided, I have no real issue with that because it’s not like the film is pretending to be anything more than that. At least I’m not being dragged by the eyelids through every shitty development like with the Kissing Booth films, and at least the performances are able to work with the perpetual eye-roll that is the script for this thing. Everything here is delivered with just the right amount of self-aware cheese (Hardin saying “Fuck it, why not?” before entering a bar for the requisite bar brawl sets the overall tone nice and early) that, as objectively bad as it all is, it always kept a knowing smile on my face.

Look, for as much as I navel-gaze about the deeper meanings behind the films I review on here, and for as much flak as I give the films I don’t like, I’m not that difficult to please at the end of the day. There’s room in the world for dumb romance fluff, and unlike with Kissing Booth, I can actually see the appeal in watching this crap for some cheap laughs and even cheaper thrills (read: sex scenes and soap opera shenanigans). It’s still not good, and we’ve gone from too much plot in We Collided to barely any here (right down to ending on the exact same revelation, just for a different character), but for the kind of film it is and where it spawned from, I still think it’s worth checking out for the more trash-inclined out there. And now that these films have gone straight-to-streaming, there’s less of a ticket price barrier to entry.

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