BEST OF SEVEN

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Indie comedy Best of Seven is a bit of an odd affair. Its main plot point is that the main character has Multiple Personality Disorder. This is always a bit of an odd choice for the focus for a screwball comedy. In the real world, the condition (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder) is poorly understood. In the land of make-believe and movies however, it tends to be an excuse to serve interesting plot twists, as well as a way for a single actor to tackle multiple roles.

Best of Seven firmly fits into the latter category. In fact, it’s an excuse for writer, director and star Jonnie Stapleton to show off his various acting skills and accents by playing seven different versions of the same person. The story begins with the main character (also called Jonnie) coming out of hospital following an overdose. Jonnie has been on medication most of his life, thanks to a childhood incident involving one of his alternate personas. When his parents decide to hide his meds, Jonnie’s condition re-asserts itself and a host of personalities appear.

The majority of the movie focuses on one actor in multiple roles. This feels massively self-indulgent, and the main problem is that none of these characters are terribly likeable or entertaining. That one of the central gags of the picture focuses on masturbation is rather telling, and informs the entire project. The personalities aren’t a series of funny characters that will conflict and generate funny plot. It’s more a focused excuse to show off the actors range. For example, one of the personalities is a comedy Russian, with a comedy Russian accent. The why is never explained.

The inevitable chase scene is done quite well and there are a few good gags here and there. Every penny spent on the movie can be seen on the screen and they do very well with very little. Sadly, the theme and pacing is highly inconsistent. The melancholy pieces come in straight after the wacky slapstick sequences, and due to poor pacing, all this does is turn the viewer off.

Best of Seven is basically an extended show reel for actor Jonnie Stapleton. The camera work and direction is pretty good, and the script would be okay if it wasn’t trying to do everything at once. Alas, because this feature is clearly designed to show all the skills of one person, the result is an inconsistent mishmash of scenes that don’t really work. Best of Seven showcases a lot of talent and it goes to show that you can have all the ability in the world, but a bad movie will still be a bad movie.

BEST OF SEVEN / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JONNIE STAPLETON / SCREENPLAY: DOMENICO GRASSO, JONNIE STAPLETON / STARRING: JONNIE STAPLETON, PAULA KELLEY, JAMES DREW ARMSTRONG, PEARCE JOZA, BRITTANY WAGNER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

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