Romantic comedies have taken a beating over the last few years with date night audiences flocking to see superheros and man eating dinosaurs. The goofy romance is almost a lost cause that sadly gets shuffled onto cable as part of the lineup at Lifetime Movie Network. Even then, they have to get attached to a Christmas theme to make sure audiences grasp a seasonal charm. There’s a bit of relief to see the romantic comedy still has a heart with the arrival of Slow Learners.
Jeff (Adam Pally) is a nerdy guidance counselor at a high school who looks like he might still be victimized by the ruffian sophomores. He’s not even that socially acceptable geek that teen girls swear they are as they roam the halls in Dr. Who Tardis dresses. He’s more putz as he sits around his apartment with his social outcast guy pals conducting a book club about Of Mice and Men. Equally inept at social skills is school librarian Anne (Sarah Burns). She’s a mousy gal on the way to becoming a crazy cat lady. She has no ability to flirt with guys who she likes. She’s emotionally still in elementary school. Together Jeff and Anne are one messed up pair of friends. When summer break hits, the two decide that they are sick of being so nebbish. They want to be cool. They want to be seductive and heartbreaking. They are ready to change their ways of life. Jeff gets his gateway when a hunky neighbor gives him a leather jacket. The Fonzification begins as he transforms into a man who can get lucky at a single’s bar and not merely be used as a substitute dart board. Anne goes from the guest who cleans up a party to a woman who embraces making a mess to hook up with a cute guy. She becomes addicted to a show about bad girls wanting to marry an about to be paroled prisoner to learn how to be more impulsive. Naturally Jeff and Anne get so hot in their new lives that they make the other jealous. Can they get nasty with each other without returning to their old loser ways?
Slow Learners is a fun film since it has a tandem transformation. It’s not merely the woman changing from nerd to hotness (like ever Sandra Bullock flick). Or the guy learning the secrets of being a stud from Will Smith. It’s both of them going beyond their old lame ways. Adam Pally and Sarah Burns pull off this double transformation without any doubt that they are both tame and meek people doing their best to be fierce. The ending gets things right instead of going all Pretty In Pink. There’s no complete moralizing about how changing your life is a horrible thing. Director’s Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce bring their documentary background into the dramatic field. The characters feel real as they alter parts of their life to be more appealing. This is how the duo made their documentary Rock School a better experience than Jack Black’s School of Rock. There’s also a great Tom Jones reference during a dueling dinner scene. Slow Learners is a fine romantic comedy for a date night. Although the movie ultimately works best for people who need to switch things up so they can have a date night in the near future.
The videos is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfers brings out the details in their transformations from meek to rather douchey. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 so you feel like you’re in the single’s bar watching the action. The movie is subtitled in English and Spanish.
Trailer (2:24) sets up why these people need to change their lives.
Slow Learners is sweet, nerdy romantic comedy.
MPI presents Slow Learners. Directed by: Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce. Screenplay by: Matt Serword. Starring: Adam Pally, Sarah Burns, Reid Scott & Catherine Reitman. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 96 minutes. Released: December 15, 2015.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.