The Selling Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
DVD released by Grand Entertainment Group
Directed by Emily Lou
Written by Gabriel Diani
2011, 92 minutes, Rated PG-13
DVD released on October 23rd, 2012
Gabriel Diani as Richard Scarry
Jonathan Klein as Dave Ross
Etta Devine as Ginger Sparks
Janet Varney as Mary Best
Nancy Lenehan as Mrs. Scarry
The Selling's setup is rather typical: we are given a real estate agent in dire financial straits with a haunted house to unload on a poor, unsuspecting buyer. However, rather than the tired old backstory of gambling debt or girlfriend he needs to deserve, our hero Richard Scarry (played adorably by writer Gabriel Diani) wants to give his ailing mother the best cancer treatment he possibly can; including a $15,000 surgery that her insurance is refusing to cover. The charming relationship between Richard and his mother is handled beautifully between Diani and Nancy Lenehan; their banter is sweet without becoming cloying and the energy in their dialogue makes you root for the mama's boy. Etta Devine is a little heavy-handed in her role as the ghost hobbyist who foils Scarry's attempt to unload the house at auction, but it suits her kooky character, so you forgive her zeal. Jonathan Klein is truly enjoyable as unfortunate sidekick Dave Ross with a hopeless crush on Janet Varney's Mary Best.
There isn't a lot to say about this movie since not that much happens. I don't mean that disparagingly either — movies these days are far too long and capping out at 92 minutes, The Selling never overstays its welcome. The broadly-drawn characters bumble through the movie; the jokes are a little thin but pleasant. The story of the haunting grows and twists without ever quite giving the viewer the "a-ha!" moment you expect and desire. The set is acceptable. You get the feeling it was shot on location as-is. For example, Ginger's apartment seems like it really could just be a friend's cluttered apartment rather than a carefully crafted location. The music didn't really make an impression; I'm having trouble remembering it even a few minutes after watching the film, which probably isn't a great sign. The whole time the setting seems a little dark; many times I found myself wondering if they skimped on lighting or were just filming in Seattle.
Okay, so maybe The Selling won't win an Oscar. There were plenty of moments I just wanted the actors to push just a little harder for their goals; to feel the urgency and panic that you feel during a big-budget thriller flick. But what this film lacks in splashy special effects, it makes up for in endearing characters that redefine "hero". The strong bonds of morality and friendship overcome this film's shortcomings and make it a fun, light-hearted romp, and it was refreshing and sweet enough that I'm giving it a better rate than most. Also, I'm a sucker for thriller/comedy mash-ups; if I watch Clue one more time my DVD player is going to melt the disc.
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