International Falls review – a winning performance from Rachael Harris

May 18, 2020
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews
3

Summary

Rachel Harris shines in International Falls, a flawed comedy that, at the very least, doesn’t squander the big moment when the time comes.

3

Summary

Rachel Harris shines in International Falls, a flawed comedy that, at the very least, doesn’t squander the big moment when the time comes.

Director Amber McGinnis’s International Falls is one of those films that you wish had a little more punch, but you have to admire the effort. What it does have, though, is a standout performance for a long-time comedy film and television character actress, who finally takes a step from out from her ultra-supporting roles. Rachael Harris has been one of my favorite comedic character actresses for years. She takes center stage in a winning performance that’s much different than her most notable roles in The Hangover and as a daily show correspondent.

Ward’s film was written by Thomas Ward, both of their first feature credits, and has a lot more going for it than just its comedy—which it does well. The script is multi-layered, not necessarily deep, but enough to give a friendly rounded context that highlights Dee and Tim’s plight. Is this something we have seen before? Of course, but it is done well. The reveals are like a slow cooker here. Never monumental, but pop up every so often, enough that the viewer cares about the story and the characters. While Huebel and Harris exchange whip-smart banter, it’s also an above-average character study on the middle-aged, looking over your life and deciding what to do next.

It is refreshing to see these supporting comedic talents take center stage in a film, even small and independent. Huebel (The Other Guys, I Love You Man) has been an ace in the hole for two decades now. His jokes in the film, particularly those directed at people he comes across, leaves their mark. Though, while he does an admirable job, I’m afraid the role needed someone with a little more depth to convey what his character was going through. There is a history of mental health issues with stand-up comics that plays a prominent role that could have been explored.

The other opportunity that was missed was the process. Dee and Tim’s relationship, you would think, would be a negative one, but she rarely gets insulted by him, which is their connection because he feels he found a fellow comic like himself. She doesn’t know it yet. When they talk about the craft, the script needed to show Harris’s Dee developed her routine with Huebel’s Tim that would have led up and highlighted the film’s big, show-stopping finale. This would have made International Falls much stronger.

However, you ultimately forgive all of that because it still comes back full circle to Harris. Her performance is well-rounded, three-dimensional, and pathos gives Dee a relatable character for the audience. It’s a perfect blend. She has the right amount of humor to be entertaining while having the kind of grounded realism to be believable.

At the very least, International Falls isn’t filled with endless filler and didn’t squander the big moment when it came time. The main reason to watch the film is the chemistry between the leads, a strong performance from Harris. This timely story would incorporate mental health and the #MeToo movement, even if it took a less than critical eye on the process.


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