I recently had the great pleasure of attending the New Jersey Film Fest at Rutgers University where the film STARTING FROM SCRATCH was playing. I also had the great pleasure of meeting the writer/director, James Huang, who I kid you not might just be the nicest guy on the face of the planet. Seriously, dude was very cool. I also briefly met his wife, Elizabeth Sandy, who co-stars in this film with him.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH is a romantic comedy with a bit of twist – mostly because while it technically is a rom-com, it’s about breaking up, not getting together and there’s the added bonus of there being an IRS audit thrown in. Jake and Ally are both actors who keep repeatedly running into each other at auditions and castings. Before long they’ve fallen in love and have gotten married. Fast track to a year later, where they’re sitting on a therapist’s couch in the midst of a divorce all while being audited by the IRS over a movie they made together that was as Jake puts it “misunderstood”. What follows is an exploration of what happens when financial stress helps to ruin a marriage and what happens in the aftermath of falling out of love.
The film is brilliantly hysterical. I laughed, the whole audience at the film fest was laughing, the entire way through. My personal favorite lines? As Jake is taking out the recycling, a man walks up to him and hands him an envelope and says, “You’ve been served.” to which Jake replies, “Um…so do you like kill me now or do we start break dancing?”. *giggles* As a fan of all dance movies ever made, that was the best thing ever in my book. But the rest of the movie is just as quotable and completely randomly hilarious at times. Jake’s best friend, played by Charles Kim, is a standout – there is nothing his character says that didn’t make me giggle. And Billy Beck as True, the yoga teacher? Yeah…I totally dated that guy in college – one scene in particular was so entirely like a real life moment when I was 18 that I almost completely lost it with the giggling. And that’s the thing, y’all, every character in this film is relatable. You know them and that’s what makes this film so great.
The other thing that makes it’s so great is it’s honesty. It covers all the steps after a breakup from the anger to the denial to the “we’ll get back together, I just know it” to the awkward attempts at rebound sex to the acceptance that it didn’t work. After the film played, there was a Q&A and an audience member asked James and Elizabeth if they had thought about having a different ending than they did. Their reply was that they wanted the movie to be able to say that it’s okay when things don’t always work out.
I’m not a fan of romantic comedies ever. I avoid them like the plague but this is one of the best rom-coms I’ve ever seen and so far this year, I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best movies of the year. I cannot recommend this movie enough. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about and why you should be watching this movie NOW, head on over to the STARTING FROM SCRATCH website to find out where it’s playing next!