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 and 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 it a nice 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 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 so refreshing to see these supporting comedic talents take the center stage in a film, even if it is 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 the ones directed at people he comes across, leave 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 just doesn’t know it yet. When they talk about the craft so to speak, the script needed to show Harris’s Dee developed her own routine with Huebel’s Tim that would have led up and highlighted the films big, show-stopping finale. This would have made International Falls much stronger.
Though, you ultimately forgive all of that, because it then still comes back full circle to Harris. Her performance is well rounded, three-dimensional, and has a pathos that gives Dee a relatable character for the audience. It’s a perfect blend, really. She has the right amount of humor to be entertaining while having the kind of grounded realism to be believable.
International Falls, at the very least, 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, a timely story that incorporates mental health and the #MeToo movement, even if it took a less than critical eye on the process.
We are fast becoming the number one independent website for streaming coverage. Please support Ready Steady Cut today. Secure its future — we need you!
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.