Movie Review ~ It Takes Three

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The Facts:

Synopsis: When the coolest guy in school discovers that the new girl sees through his popularity and good looks, he enlists the class nerd to take over his social media accounts to add substance to his style.

Stars: Jared Gilman, David Gridley, Aurora Perrineau, Mikey Madison, Monk Serrell Freed, Anya Marina

Director: Scott Coffey

Rated: NR

Running Length: 90 minutes

TMMM Score: (7/10)

Review:  Honestly, when presented with the opportunity to get a look at It Takes Three, an umpteenth revisal of the Cyrano de Bergerac story, the idea of it wasn’t as interesting to me as the person sitting in the director’s seat.  Growing up in the halcyon days of ‘90s cable television, I had my channel tuned to HBO whenever I was lounging around the house and often caught the high school dramas and comedies that played ad nauseum.  So the name Scott Coffey leaped out at me like a red blinking light. 

Of course I knew who Scott Coffey was!  C’mon!  SpaceCamp and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in 1986?  Ok…how about Zombie High and the forever underrated Some Kind of Wonderful from 1987?  Satisfaction (early Julia Roberts Alert!!) and Shag (a personal favorite) from 1988?  You’ve of course seen the John Travolta rebel classic Shout from 1991…right?  I can’t ever forget Coffey’s unfortunate accident in 1993’s The Temp…well, you get the picture.

The point is this, I was curious to see what an actor who grew up around films of this type would be able to bring to the proceedings and was surprised to see how much heart he was able to instill into Logan Burdick and Blair Mastbaum’s script.  Yes, it’s another take on the story of an outcast that’s good with words, here a boy named Cy (Jared Gilman, Moonrise Kingdom) who helps a handsome devil that’s empty inside (David Gridley as classmate Chris) woo new student Roxy (Aurora Perrineau, Jem and the Holograms) who is way out of his league.  As Cy’s friend Kat (Mikey Madison, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood) watches her bestie get sucked into a strange love triangle, she eventually realizes she’s got more of a stake in the game than she cares to admit.  Can Cy get over his own hang-ups long enough to see who the one that’s right for him actually is?

Ditching the nose that has defined Cyrano since the beginning, the screenwriters instead just make Cy someone uncomfortable in his own skin and it’s a strange wire to walk on.  On the one hand, it begins to address some questions on body dysmorphia in men (a topic not often discussed, at least not in any kind of film, mainstream or otherwise) but on the other it makes it the subject of jokes and casual devaluation.  Gilman’s own appearance is seemingly unaltered so…are we just saying that he hates how he looks and that’s that?  It’s an odd argument to witness. 

It’s good, then, that Coffey and his cast have a gainful spirit about them that propels the film forward into positive energy territory.  You always know the film is headed toward the kind of resolution that is expected but likely not the way you think it will go.  Knowing you’re in safe hands allows you to relax more for those 90 minutes and that’s where It Takes Three finds it’s sweet spot, bolstered by Gilman’s geeky charm and Perrineau’s earthy ease.  Coffey also dots the supporting players with some brilliant comedic players, from Anya Marina as the school principal that moonlights in a band to Lori Alan and Nicole Sullivan as Cy’s moms.  Small movies like this can have the tendency to slip through your fingers but get discovered at a later time when you’re deep browsing – keep your eye out for It Takes Three because it plays well, moves fast, and acts as a nice showcase for a crop of strong talent in front of and behind the camera.