Oil and Water
by Sean Curry
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This indie rom-com centers around gossip show hosts Dan Lake and Ms. Gabby, who bear their own infamy for bickering on and off camera. Through the course of the film the egotistical duo’s tempers rise to the point that the two realize the inevitable; they’re really in love. Then they must decide whether to accept this truth and possibly destroy their biggest draw, namely their on-air squabbling, or avoid their unheeded romance as much as humanly possible.
Peter LaVilla’s sharp indie takes on the oft-bungled romantic comedy genre and spins it nicely, thanks to the energetic efforts of his cast. To be perfectly honest, the production values of this film are extremely amateurish, but the story and the cast overcome this visual distraction, ultimately salvaging an otherwise mediocre effort.
Getting high marks among a capable cast is the lovely Rosemary Gore as Ms. Gabby. Ms. Gore exudes her usual charm and spirit, vaulting the potentially annoying talk show host role into something of an enticement. She graces her character with a veiled sexiness and effervescence which is reminiscent of classic romantic comedies of the early 30s.
Which adds to the overall sense of the film as a play, for it really does remind the viewer of those great early films which set the standard for the genre through the works of such fine filmmakers as Howard Hawks or Preston Sturges. However, like those classic comedies, LaVilla’s film sometimes seems in wont of a faster pace. In spite of the low budget production values (camera and lighting), there is an enjoyable comedy here.
LaVilla plays Dan Lake, egotistical TV host, and Rosemary Gore is Gabby, a notable gossip columnist making the transition to become Lake’s television partner. From their very first meeting, Gabby decides that Lake is nothing more than what he seems to be—an old and conceited bag of wind. For his part, Lake is exasperated by Gabby’s demands for on-set equality, despite his seniority. Their simmering rivalry comes through loud and clear on the television program, which only adds to their ratings. Eventually their growing fame earns them each a chance to host their own show, which results in some odd revelations for both characters, including realizing the strength of their presence as a bickering duo.
Mr. LaVilla wrote, directed, and starred in this film. He is also a former mayor of a small New York town. The best decision he made was to cast Ms. Gore in this film, for she makes up for his obvious amateurish qualities.
As indie films go, Oil and Water’s obvious limitations are overcome by a few superior performances. My fervent hope is that this will lead to bigger and greater things for Ms. Gore, who sorely deserves better.
Sean Curry is a film reviewer living in Cork, Ireland.
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