Oh, what would happen if people explored relationships outside the stereotypical boundaries of the socially accepted monogamous couple? If only John Stewart Muller (co writer/director) and Laura Boersma (co writer) would endeavor to tell, nay show us.
Fling follows Mason (Steve Sandvoss) and Sam (Courtney Ford) a committed loving couple with an open relationship. That basically means they can boink other people. They are happy and have no trouble navigating such a seldom charted course, until they start having problems and things get complicated. The complications come in the form of James (Brandon Routh) and Olivia (Shoshana Bush). James is an old boyfriend of Sam’s, and Olivia is Mason’s best friends younger sister.*
While open relationships may still be fairly mind blowing for mainstream American audiences, they are well documented in the indi/art house circuit. It is a little frustrating for movies to continually come along and act as if they are the first to ever consider the ramifications of such a lifestyle choice. It is a subject that needs thorough examination, and as such Fling’s successes are hit and miss.
The first (and foremost) thing that Fling manages to do right is create very likable characters. Often films that seek edginess manage to do so by creating constant and false drama by having their characters act like douche bags. Fling sidesteps this hurdle with a combination of decent writing and good casting. While there isn’t a whole lot of fist shaking or high drama both Ford and Sandvoss manage to be engaging, and believable. There are also in turn funny, sexy and frustrating. While Sandvoss does well, Ford does very well, and I look forward to seeing her again.**
Where the movie falls apart is in its attempt to ask “difficult” questions. As soon as the movie starts, the main characters fall into stereotyped behaviors. Sam starts seeing a man who wants a regular committed relationship, and Mason starts running around with a nineteen year old. Woman seeks stability, man seeks young poon. Boring. Routh’s character and Mason best friend Luke (Nick Wechsler) also get stuck with the unenviable task of being the mouthpiece of the conservative voice. It’s almost as if every ten minutes or so the action has to stop so one of these two characters can pose oversimplified rhetorical questions that the audience needs to “think” about. The fact that the action isn’t completely derailed by these moments is a strong testament to the abilities of both these actors.
Though it mostly fails as a “think piece” Fling manages to engage the viewer and make us root for a happy ending. Indeed the only heavy thinking this movie manages to induce is when the viewer tries to decide for him/herself what exactly a happy ending would look like for these people.
All in all this a solid film, while I had a few complaints*** I enjoyed it thoroughly.
*I know. Many of you had no problem with the boinking other people part, but go “No way” when I mention the possibility of a dude boinking his friend’s sister. To this I say, lighten up. Someone’s going to boink your sister; it might as well be your friend.
** It is possible that I am biased and only like her better because she is a hot woman.
*** My biggest complaint is that (except for a little man ass,) there is NO NUDITY IN THIS FILM! What? It wouldn’t even have been gratuitous. It would have been lovely. I feel robbed and angry.