Will Reading (2017) – By Philip Smolen

 

Wendy (Katie Weigl) is a young widow. Her husband Will recently committed suicide and she’s lost without him. She’s had the official will reading already and her husband had very little to pass on to her. But Wendy recently found a hand-written addendum to the will. So she’s called together a group of his friends in order to read it. The motley group consists of Will’s twin brother Wayne (writer/director Jamie Insalaco), attorney Steve (Greg Vorob) and friends Dave (Dan Conrad) and Tom (Marc Seidenstein). The addendum seems to indicate that Will has left a sizable amount of cash in the house that he doesn’t want the IRS to acquire. So the group splits up and tries to figure out where the stash may be hidden. But money has a funny way of turning friends into enemies.

“Will Reading” is the second film (and first full length feature) from New Jersey filmmaker Jamie Insalaco and it’s an attempt to re-create the screwball comedies that Hollywood churned out during the 1930s. Insalaco seems to be channeling both the Marx Brothers and early Mel Brooks as he runs his actors all over the house trying to find the lost money. He even has the good sense to send up classic films like “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Spiderman” (2002).

However, despite all of the madcap energy, the film remains flat. Instead of starting the film in high gear (perhaps with the search for the money already in progress), Insalaco starts in neutral with the group getting together for dinner. This section consists of alternating close-ups and medium shots of the performers and quickly becomes repetitious. The dinner scene then continues on for nearly half of the film’s 80 minutes. As a result, the film’s pacing suffers and never recovers. The plot also leaves a lot of obvious questions unanswered that strain a viewer’s willing suspension of disbelief. Furthermore, Insalaco is let down by his actors. They don’t seem to have a true understanding of their character’s motives, and that hurts their performances.

It’s clear from watching this flick that Insalaco is in love with movies. But just having a love of movies is only a first step. “Will Reading” is an earnest attempt to make a madcap comedy that unfortunately doesn’t closely follow the formula of the films it wants to emulate. As a result the movie doesn’t work the way it should.

For more information on “Will Reading”, please go to: https://creativejamie.com/tag/will-reading/

To watch the trailer for “Will Reading”, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COFo1sfcPWw