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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 12, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 50
Arts & Entertainment
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Imaginative Comet ablaze in romantic delights

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

COMET
Now playing


Dell (Justin Long) knows instantly Kimberly (Emmy Rossum) is the woman for him, so much so he's utterly unafraid to ask the vibrant and vivacious young lady for her phone number even though her current boyfriend is standing right there. Fast-forward six years and the pair are together, trying to make the best of it, doing what they can to overcome a series of successes and missteps that have made their relationship what it is.

But will it continue? That's the central question being asked throughout writer/director Sam Esmail's daring and audacious debut Comet, a beguiling romantic comedy-drama hybrid that floats within space and time on its own uniquely idiosyncratic wavelength. It bounces back and forth within this six year timeframe in nonlinear fashion, examining aspects of Dell and Kimberly's relationship trying to find signature moments that have driven it forward.

Think of the film as sort of the bouncy, dialogue-driven second cousin to Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine only not anywhere near as tragic or as depressing; and while I won't make any statements as to what ultimately happens to Dell and Kimberly I will hazard a guess most won't be emotionally devastated by where everything ends up. It's a fun, thought-provoking two-person melodrama, anchored by performances from Long and Rossum easily ranking as two of their best, the movie never anything less than magnetically entertaining even when certain aspects and pieces don't fit as well together as I maybe would have liked.

And it doesn't all fit together. Some bits aren't remotely believable, aspects of the pair's relationship existing in some sitcom meets Cable TV netherworld screenwriters adore but most viewers cluelessly bat their eyes at wondering what all the fuss is about. Dell's dialogue is particularly problematic at times, so whip-smart and lightning fast it oftentimes sounds a whole heck of a lot better and more profound than in reality it actually is. There's a bunch of hogwash being spouted every so often, Esmail so eloquently cute with his verbiage it tends to overshadow the central romance around which everything revolves.

Even so, Comet is a heck of a lot of fun. Long, even saddled with some insane sequences of dialogue that would make David Mamet and Aaron Sorkin blanch, is so terrific he manages to make even the most idiotic moment believable. Better, he and Rossum have stupendous chemistry, lighting the screen ablaze more often than not, even when their affair ends up on the proverbial ropes. More, the film showcases a talented artist in Esmail worth keeping an eye on, and while this freshman effort isn't without its faults, the ingeniously and imaginatively crafted delights far outweigh any overall apprehensions about the finished picture I otherwise might have had.

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2014 HOLIDAY CALENDAR
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