Sex Crime & Punishment (2011) – By Josh Samford

I can’t honestly tell you how rare it is for me to run into an independent comedy that really makes me laugh. Nor one that makes me cringe. Heck, now to really lower the odds down, if I were to select the number of independent short comedies that I have reviewed for Rogue Cinema over the years, I’d only be dealing with maybe a handful of titles to begin with. However, Sex, Crime & Punishment managed to do all of these things, and in the process it made for possibly the best short film I have seen so far this year. Clocking in at a very brief eight minutes long, Sex, Crime & Punishment is what you might get if you were to mix in the social awkwardness of a Judd Apatow joint with the dry and witty comedy of Wes Anderson. Wrap your brains around that. Then, after you have this strange concoction, imagine it coated with a bizarre love for Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders. Strange enough yet? Well, the strangest part of this mix is the fact that it all somehow manages to work.

Sex, Crime & Punishment details the would-be robbery of a bookstore by two hapless young saps. One of these young men has fallen deeply in love with the young clerk who stands at the front of the store, and due to this infatuation he honestly wants no part in the robbery. His best friend however is much more interested in making this quick money, and he has even brought along a gun in order to complete the job. He tries his best to hold up an employee and force her to give him the money out of the safe, but she turns out to be a bit more to handle than he at first expected. With these two bumbling fools at the helm, what could actually go right in this situation?

Although the short definitely spoofs the "heist" film in many ways that have been done before, the enthusiastic performances from the cast, as well as the exceedingly clever writing/improvising, makes for one of the funniest renditions of this particular scenario that I can remember. The short just seems to have a lot of "heart" and love going for it behind the scenes. The entire cast all showcases tremendous talent and somehow manage to flesh out four very distinct personalities all in under ten minutes. My favorite bits include the very awkward conversation detailing the many reasons why wizards are "awesome" and of course the retaliatory sequence between the armed robber and his crying damsel who doesn’t care whether she lives or dies because her fiance broke up with her earlier in the day, via a phone call!

This sort of production hints at some truly talented individuals and I sincerely hope to see more from all involved. You can read more about this nifty little short via the Indie GoGo page, and while you’re there, pitch in a few bucks! : http://www.indiegogo.com/Sex-Crime-and-Punishment