Wuss (2011), written and directed by Clay Liford, stars Nate Rubin (Mitch) as a young english teacher in a public school wrought with, as the character Maddie Worth (Alicia Anthony) would put it, “miscreants.” It is a tale that easily resonates with almost anyone, for it touches on many a broad topic from mere high school misanthropy to even deeper more poignant issues. This film has such incredibly relevant social commentary that I could not help but lose myself in the reality of it. Wuss is easily one the the most enjoyable breaths of fresh air that I have recently had the pleasure of taking in.
Nate Rubin’s subtle expression of Mitch is so delicate one wonders what else he is capable of doing. His characterization is so downplayed that the depth resounds long after the film ends. Alicia Anthony is a delight on screen and I would put money on expecting a pretty bright future in acting for her. The duo make such great screen chemistry that it would be hard to question their talent. They are accompanied by some well known faces such as Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Stranger than Fiction) as Mr. Crowder ,the band teacher, and Alex Karpovsky (Tiny Furniture, Girls) as the overly pompous, foul mouthed Vice Principal Wally Combs. Each lend the expertise of their craft to fulfilling the believability respectively as well as adding most of the comedic segments. Without them and their brillant sense of underplayed comedy is easily one of the main reasons that this film doesn’t fall flat.
The cinematography is nothing to write home to mom about, but there are moments in the film that really stand out. Christopher Simpson shows great promise and could easily become a name seen more often within the independent circuit. Texas is easily a place where a cinematographer could go wild and forget what the heart of the film is really about, but Simpson sticks to what he knows and gets the important moments onto the screen. Though there are some simple mistakes made that are easily seen the film doesn’t have any tragic mishaps here.
Clay Liford’s writing is incredible. This film takes his dangerous source material and really builds a sentimental feature while narrowly escaping traumatic solely because of his writing. He know’s what he is doing and has a great ability to write only what needs to be written. However, even the film starts out with a stagger and ends with a trip it still has all the intelligent execution it needs to be great.
Wuss is beautifully cast, dangerously written, masterfully acted and darkly comedic. It succeeds in so many areas that it outweighs any of the small mistakes made during the production. Watch Mitch make one bad decision after another. Watch Mitch get beat up. Watch Mitch wuss out. And enjoy every moment of it.