Back in the early days of the blog, I reviewed a small, independently produced film called Never Say Macbeth. I liked it, and was pleased to receive a copy of Tammy Caplan and Joe Tyler Gold's follow-up, Desperate Acts of Magic. At the risk of an overly cute tag line, Desperate Acts of Magic accomplishes great narrative sleight of hand, starting as a near-typical romantic comedy and becoming a sharp, entertaining gem which deserves a wider audience.
Taking advantage of a "Fire-tunity", Jason (Joe Tyler Gold) decides to pursue his dream of being a successful magician, much like his pal Steve (Jonathan Levitt). In one of the most original "meet cutes" ever written, Jason meets Stacy (Valerie Dillman), who is looking to make the big time as a female magician. After insulting Stacy, Jason is inspired to create a new act - one which uses the magician/assistant relationship to focus on larger issues. Shenanigans a-plenty ensue as Jason attempts to win back Stacy, deal with his pal Steve, train new assistant Ellen (Sascha Alexander), and hopefully, gain entry into the world of magicians....
What elevates Desperate Acts of Magic from being just another cookie-cutter romantic comedy is the misdirection of the script. Places where you might expect it to fall into cliche, the story moves into a slightly different direction. Rather than pull familiar rabbits out of hats, Desperate Acts provides plenty of colorful twists, some dead-on performances, and quite honestly, some exceptional film making.
Desperate Acts of Magic will be available on DVD on September 10th, and their web site lists other viewing options....but this is definitely a movie to check out. Unlike its bigger budget cousins, Desperate Acts of Magic is a smart, funny, well-scripted movie that manages to accomplish its feats without any smoke or mirrors. Definitely worth seeking.