Tuesday, February 9, 2016

'Losing Control': Career v. commitment, wrapped in comic absurdity

About the movie
Losing Control
MPAA rating:
for some sexual content and language
Running time:
Release date:
John Billingsley; Bitsie Tulloch; Sam Ball; Lin Shaye; Miranda Kent; Theo Alexander; Reid Scott; Steve Howey; Kathleen Robertson; Ben Weber
Directed by:
Valerie Weiss

If Losing Control has too much of a girl-com TV vibe about it - and it does, replete with wacky pals, bad blind dates, and perilously upbeat music cues - it also has smarts.

I laughed out loud when the film's heroine, trying to escape a mental ward where she's been wrongly commmitted, turns to her best friend, who has just had shock treatment to counter over-effective Botox therapy, and exclaims, "I think there might be enough electricity left in your face to disable the alarm!"

Attach one end of the wire to the hospital room's window, the other to her friend's cheek, and Samantha (Miranda Kent) is free.

Written and directed by Valerie Weiss, a Philadelphia native who earned dual degrees from Princeton University in molecular biology and theater, Losing Control begins with an epigram citing the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Samantha is a postdoctoral fellow working on a formula to determine gender at conception - it's called Y-kill. Sam is the kind of person who has literally mapped out her life, but when her serious beau (Reid Scott) proposes, she's suddenly thrown off-course. Is he really the one?

Toss in a screwball plot involving industrial espionage, academic malfeasance, and a salad spinner doubling as a centrifuge, and Losing Control nicely mixes comedic absurdity with weightier career vs. commitment themes.

Kent, Scott, and Kathleen Robertson (the shock therapy friend) display energy, and, um, chemistry, if not star power, and Weiss has a nice sense for the rhythms of comedy as she puts her cast through its paces.

Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or srea@phillynews.com. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at www.philly.com/onmovies


Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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