03rd Mar2015

‘Playing It Cool’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Iaon Gruffudd, Anthony Mackie, Topher Grace, Aubrey Plaza, Patrick Warburton, Martin Starr, Luke Wilson, Matthew Morrison, Ashley Tisdale, Philip Baker Hall | Written by Chris Shafer, Paul Vicknair | Directed by Justin Reardon


Imagine if love was easy, we’d have less rom-coms for a start. These comedies that look at the complications of love tend to make themselves out to be the only movie that does the re-tread tale in this certain way, the truth being most follow a similar structure (because it works). The success of the film relies on making the audience care for the characters and charming the hopeless romantic in them into submission. The question is can Chris “Captain America” Evans charm you by Playing it Cool? The answer is probably yes.

Chris Evans plays a screenwriter given the task of writing a script for a rom-com. Being the jaded type he tends to not have the best relationship with love ever since his mother abandoned him as a child. Forcing himself to face his own issues he soon finds a woman (Michelle Monaghan) who brings down his defences, and looking to his friends for advice on how to write his script, he soon finds inspiration in his own life which may just help him finish the work he’s struggling so hard with.

Playing it Cool has that “indie film” feel from the get go. There are constant movie and television references and that whole “hip” feel to the film that is immediately recognisable, and of course charming. For film geeks it’s not long before you start to notice that not only Captain America/Johnny Storm is in the film but also Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie). We could also mention Topher Grace was Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3 but this would ruin the Marvel character bias, and most tend to try to forget Brock was even in the third film. After we get past the super hero adoration though we come to the real highlight of the film and that is Aubrey Plaza who does a very good job at making the movie her own. Even if she isn’t really the star of Playing it Cool her characters intensity and humour grabs your interest and refuses to let go. The fact she is the Kim Pine (the Alison Pill character in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) of this movie doesn’t hurt her cause either.

It is easy to see how this film beats down a film geeks defences with these actors appearing, and there are a few more that strengthens the movies cause, but I’ll leave you to enjoy discovering they are in the film. The fact is though I doubt these people were chosen because of their super hero acting history, they are good actors and they fit the roles they were given. The most enjoyable parts of the film come from the group of friends sitting around telling stories of love and how it affects life. They all have different viewpoints on what it is and out of these stories we see the true meaning of what love and more importantly it can be.

The word I’ve used a lot with this movie is charming, and that is exactly why this film is easy to sit and watch. The main love story is endearing, Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan have good chemistry that makes the battle they go through interesting for the audience. Their relationship isn’t an easy one and they fight against it, because that is the type of characters they are. This just proves that love isn’t meant to be easy, just as life isn’t. Playing it Cool may not be enough to get what you truly want.

With its moments of dry humour and the intelligent way it doesn’t treat the audience like complete idiots Playing it Cool is able to use jokes that some people may miss, but that is okay. Some may be missed, and a few scenes didn’t work for me but I came away from the film feeling that it was time well spent. You’ll see this one for Captain America but finish it knowing that Aubrey Plaza stole it from him, and this is not a bad thing. Charming and just a little geeky Playing it Cool was well worth my time.

**** 4/5

Playing it Cool is available on VOD now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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