Directed by: Chris Esper
Written by: Jason K Allen
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
The Deja Vuers ( 2016 )
Plausibility. Aside from being a low to no budget short film, this is the one point where "The Deja Vuers" from director Chris Esper falls apart. This film is basically, a seemingly fun time and side project for the cast and crew. Almost feeling like a weekend shoot kind of thing where boredom spurs a longing to get the creative juices flowing. Nothing like having some fun and honing your craft. Right? I'm by no means writing that this is, in fact, the true case here. Only writing that it has the feeling of one such short film. There's nothing wrong with that; I love these kinds of productions and I did have some fun with "The Deja Vuers." Basically, it feels like a few people having some fun with time travel, deja vu and destiny. And that's a great thing. The difference between this production and a slew of others is that it doesn't ask you to take it all that seriously, and maybe that helps the magic of the film. My reaction to "The Deja Vuers" wasn't all that cut and dried though, usually I'm pretty certain when I've seen a good movie. But my reaction to this was ambiguous. I had a fun time with simply "having a fun time" watching; this movie is worth seeing simply to see it. But the apparent fun had by the cast and crew seemed to undermine the most important element of comedy. Timing. Knowing this is a short film, my biggest complaint is that the movie never paused to savor the moment, and short film or not, that slightly hurt it overall.
There have been so many genre films lately that demand to be taken seriously. Even comedy. This one just requires you to try and have some fun with it. So why was I so up and down? I ran the scenario and setup through my mind. A chance encounter that actually wasn't chance at all, if you follow the premise of the film. The casual way time travel was described, although quite amusing, was just shy of letting the viewer take it "kind of" seriously. The potential implications at the end of the movie, and the comedic dialog that pushed this whole thing through, all followed the same formula, "have fun with me but don't think much more than that." My conclusion was that although I liked the way things played out, it simply wasn't unique enough to set it apart. Although we hear a lot about films that "try to hard," this one just doesn't try hard enough.
Production wise, this was a low budget indie film. Maybe better looking than some, but that just shows me that the people involved had some experience. I simply couldn't get past the "weekend pop-up film" feeling that came along with everything I watched. I wondered if it was the dialog penned by Jason Allen, and again, didn't think so. The conversation in the film progressed nicely. So what was it? The cast themselves? I skimmed through it again and found the casting was done quite well. The inclusion of the "Repairman" was a nice touch, although the casting did feel a little off for him. The part was acted well enough, but the chemistry between himself and Christie Devine's character felt off. Everything else seemed on target however, including the awkward, odd interactions between Christie's character and Kris Salvi's character, Chuck. I had no problem finding the good natured humor between those two, and their casual weirdness pushed the story home. So again, I was left wondering why things felt a little off production wise.
I never did quite figure it out, and resigned myself to go with my gut and not try and pick this film apart any more. I had some fun with it, and just stopped thinking about it so much. Once I did that the true nature of this short film became clear. As a viewer, I simply needed to have some fun with it. No thinking, no looking for what may be around the next corner. Simply let it play out and decide if I enjoyed it by the credit roll. I did. It may not be the next "Back To The Future" but that was alright. Fun times with a helping of deja vu. For me, this was the heart of the film and so long as I enjoyed what I had seen, that's all that mattered.