Review: Frank and Cindy (2015)

Frank and Cindy (2015)

Directed by: GJ Echternkamp | 102 minutes | comedy | Actors: Rene Russo, Oliver Platt, Johnny Simmons, Jane Levy, Marc Maron, Jessica Garrison, Claire Titelman, Fabianne Therese

Frank Garcia was once the guitarist for one hit wonder OXO, but now he fills his days with booze and senseless fiddling on his guitar. His wife Cindy was once a party number, but now doesn’t drink a drop. Then there’s Cindy’s son from a previous marriage, the child prodigy GJ. He went to university at the age of fourteen, but has now set his sights on an art education and on seducing a lot of women. This GJ decides to temporarily return to the family home in California. The money he needs for his studies is waiting there. He thinks.

In “Frank and Cindy,” we soon learn that that plan never comes to fruition. Instead, GJ decides to film his mother and stepfather for a documentary. GJ is a bit disgusted by the two (former) drunkards and idlers, and he is ruthless in filming the exhausted duo. But while filming, GJ discovers his own character weaknesses. Then when he meets the cute Katy, he understands it’s time to grow up.

Frank and Cindy is officially classified as a comedy, but that’s not the whole story. In 2007 director GJ Echternkamp already made a documentary ‘Frank and Cindy’, and on that documentary he based this feature film. This is not a comedy, but a tragicomic fictionalized remake of a documentary about the coming of age of a young filmmaker. Just so you know.

Despite that unfortunate genre designation, ‘Frank and Cindy’ is very enjoyable. The veteran Oliver Platt and Rene Russo convince as the two weary husbands, the young Jane Levy stands out as GJ’s love interest Katy. We also enjoy the verbal warfare between the two spouses. And just when we’ve had enough, GJ temporarily leaves for a trailer park, to visit his real father. That too is a portrait.

This makes ‘Frank and Cindy’ a nice coming of age with an unusual history. The film is never completely original, but the acting and dialogue make up for it. And then watch the old clips from OXO, the band of the real Frank Garcia on YouTube. The 80s at its bizarre best.

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