18-year old Mitch Baldwin (Mark Little) wins 3.5 million in the lottery. He begins to play air guitar with the big check starting his descent into jerkdom trying to buy acceptance from the cool kids mixed with bad investments, inventions, and patents lead to squandering the money. His dad (Mark McKiney) and mom (Stephanie Weir) are over supportive of the now 30 Mitch living at home, not working surrounded by his past failures. But when Warren is forced into early retirement the finances no longer work creating a crisis that may mean the sale of the family home. To avoid this Mitch recommends that they rent out the spare room bringing Carl (Brett Gelman) to the front door. Upon moving in Carl is the son that the Baldwins never had. He pays rent and in advance, helps out around the house listen's to and tells good stories. But when alone with Mitch he acts differently. Taking steps to push him out of the house. Our protagonist employs countermeasures turning to two people from his past both of whom he had a falling out with over the money.
Director Matthew Atkinson cuts a new distant path with this film. It has many laugh out loud moments mixed with some single white femalesque moments between Mitch and Carl. Mitch's relationships with the two former high school friends are both not as expected. His ex- girlfriend Lindsey (Carla Gullo) who has every reason to hate him surprises. As does Patrick J. Adams as Hank the popular jock from high school turned cop who was only friends with Mitch back in the day because he would pay for everything.
Brett Gelman leads the cast as Carl. His character has several arcs and twists all hit on the nose by Gelman. He generous, confrontational, scheming, thoughtful, vindictive, friendly and bent on revenge at different points during the film. Mark McKinney and Stephanie Weir are well cast as Mitch's overly enabling parents Warren and Betty. the latter doting on his every move putting up with his sloth-like behaviour. While the former lets him live at home rent free with no responsibilities giving up the spare room along with the basement to Mitch's ever losing ideas.
Room to Rent is a refreshing, original addition to the comedy landscape. The story is original mixing in a balance of laughs and tension between the main players. Each of the main characters have depth and range helped by a strong script that moves at a fast pace. The comedy goes beyond the standard sight gags or physical comedy crutches saturating the genre. The whole experience makes for a fun time at the movies that I can recommend.
*** Out of 4.
Room For Rent | Matthew Atkinson | Canada | 2017 | 89 Minutes.
Tags; Patent, Licence Plates, Stolen Car, Lottery Winner, Stink Bomb, QVC, Evaporilla.