By Julian Saldana
In The Weekend, Sasheer Zamata, a former cast member of SNL, plays a comedian named Zadie who describes herself as “super single” and “a supporting character in someone else’s romantic comedy,” but ends up shining as the true star she is. The movie opens up with her getting in the car with her ex-boyfriend Bradford, played by Tone Bell. After some awkward banter a bit of laughter Bradford insists on remaining friends and bringing his current girlfriend Margo, played by DeWanda Wise, along on the trip so she and Zadie can bond. But that gets thrown out the window when Margo pulls the girlfriend card and sends Zadie to the back seat for the rest of the car ride.
After a very awkward and bitter car ride they finally make it up to a nice countryside bed and breakfast run by Zadie’s mom, Karen, played by Kym Whitley. Karen greets Zadie with some typical shady mom comments about the way she dresses. Karen was no nicer to Margo but clearly has a soft spot for Bradford. While Zadie is unpacking her bags and snooping through her room, she sees this beautiful mysterious guest, Aubrey, played by Y’Ian Noel, pull up to the B&B alone. Zadie bumps into him and when talking to him finds out that he was just recently dumped by his girlfriend. While admittedly Zadie was just looking for someone more pathetic than her, Zadie and Aubrey had instant sparks. Bradford suddenly gets jealous, creating tension with Margo and pushing Zadie to flirt with Aubrey more just to make Bradford mad.
Stella Meghie, the director, breaks down the three-day trip with onscreen headers marking the morning, afternoon and evenings as the couples both bond and fight over miscommunications, insensitivity and as many untold truths come to light. One thing that remained constant through all three days were Zadie’s nonstop snarky and sometimes aggressive comments about not only Bradford and Margo, but also at her own mother and love interest Aubrey. I think this is where the movie truly shines: the comments weren’t overly mean or artificial. There was a level of depth to them and most of them fit the situation well and felt genuine. Some of my favorite parts about this movie weren’t the crazy over the top scenes; they were the little one-liners that had me laughing my heart out.
The movie, while having many good things going, wasn’t perfect. The attempt at physical comedy, like the make out session in the back of Aubrey’s car or the hiking scene where each cut was a different group of people talking, felt forced and unnatural. There were times were the editing felt rush and rigged. For example, on the car ride up to the B&B, they could have put in some more jokes or character development. But the film’s rough edges add character and charm to its witty dialogue, unique cast of characters and lovable cast. The film took what the Medea franchise outline and turned it on its head with a somewhat believable plot line, a focus on non-stereotyped humor and an amazing soundtrack that fit every scene it was played. I hope this movie sets a trend that not all black romantic movies must be this “over the top drama every second” type of movie and a focus on funny dialogue and a good plot line will save a movie. This movie is a must-see for any romantic comedy lover. Its well written, lovable character will want you wanting more. At this time the movie has a release window for late 2019 but no information was given on what platform it will stream on.
Featured image by Julian Saldana.