In Great Great Great, poor Lauren is overwhelmed with a first world problem. Should she stay in a five-year-old comfortable relationship with a cute loser nerd who loves her and obeys her every whim? Or, should she jump into a relationship with the older sexy man who has read enough, or enough reviews of, 50 Shades of Grey to boss her around sexually?
Poor Lauren can't decide - and oddly, in a film by an avowed feminist and an avowed gay man, never considers exploring both or just enjoying the situation - so she passively drifts through both: she proposes to her live-in and half-heartedly starts an affair with Christian Grey-lite. While her passivity is possibly realistic for a hipster millennial, it isn't very dramatic and her dour demeanour makes it hard to care one way or the other.
Of course her choices are not Great Great Great. Her fiancé Tom, played by the appealing and geeky Daniel Beirne, is an unemployed urban planner and spends his day drinking, playing with Lego and going to a boxing gym where he has a mildly homoerotic/definitely sado-masochistic relationship with his trainer Zack played by a buff Ian Fisher. (Of course both of those mild kinks are both standard facets of a relationship with a personal trainer, so I don't think we are supposed to read much into it.) Beirne does have an extremely charming scene where he flexes a bicep in order to take a selfie. His pride, reasonable guns and self-deprecation are as appealing as an unkickable puppy. But then who wants to fuck a puppy?
Lauren, in the time before she met Tom, met David at a conference in, of course, Seattle, where they had a brief, allegedly torrid, affair. Lauren works at Module 45 a company that rents out work space and encouragement to floundering entrepreneurs. David becomes her new boss, in a position for which she was passed over. He immediately puts her into several different positions. David is played by familiar face Richard Clarkin who is ruggedly handsome and plays smarmy, and sexually dominant, very well. But even he couldn't sell a romantic line like "I can get sex anywhere but I like you." But Lauren doesn't seem to want to be liked, she wants to be told to get on her knees.
Lauren proposes to Tom and tells David, "Why don't you meet me in the storage room in 15." She dresses in a schoolgirl outfit to entice Tom into spicier sex (it results in erectile dysfunction, he loves her for herself) while David strips her naked and fucks her. And it is here that Great Great Great really confuses. Sarah Kolasky, who wrote Great Great Great as well as playing Lauren, has a very nice set of breasts. And she is not, in the interests of verisimilitude or pushing boundaries or exhibitionism, afraid to flaunt them. Not so much the men who are, in the context of Great Great Great, the sexual objects. While Lauren's nudity is realistic, Tom and David both appear to have sex while wearing briefs.
And if that is what was concerning me in the midst of Lauren's dilemma, then you can understand my dilemma in writing about Great Great Great.
Kolasky is half of a sketch comedy duo and is the "Chair of the Breakthroughs Film Festival, the only festival in Canada dedicated to showcasing short films by emerging female directors." Director Adam Garnet Jones has won a bunch of awards from LGBT film festivals and is astonishingly cute. So I find it odd that their film is so flat and politically reactionary: the ambiguously happy ending is utterly Trumpian tragic.
There is a bit of humour from Meredith Cheesbrough as the sassy best friend and Lindsay Leese as the practical mother. Beirne struggles to keep a bit of banter near the beginning afloat, but it is no wonder that he, in fact all the characters, drink so much. There is a moment when Lauren, in a fit or forced cheer, offers, as she has many times, to make a drink. She grabs a bottle out of a paper bag, and, channelling Patsy, mock swigs. Being a serious hipster millennial must be angsty but if only the Great Great Great gang drank as entertainingly and effectively as the bawdy broads from Absolutely Fabulous, they would know exactly what to do with an excess of men.
Great Great Great screens on Thurs, March 23 at the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto, 259 Richmond St W as part of the Canadian Film Fest 2017. greatgreatgreatmovie.com