Review by Robert Long II (2010)
Written and directed by Pat Taggart of Alpaca Films
Produced by Frank Petka, James L. Thompson Jr., and Pat Taggart
Director of photography: Daniel W. Brosnan
Starring: Jay William Robin, Erin Mulgrew, Chris Morris, Brian Anthony Wilson, Leanna Chamish, James L. Thompson Jr.
Reviewing this movie is a refreshing break from the horror and sci-fi independent movies that I normally get in. This is an independently done romantic comedy that was shot in Pennsylvania. It’s well done and takes some risks. So without further ado, let’s get down to the brass tacks, shall we?
STORY: Steven Paige (Jay William Robin) is a 23 year old author that has had tremendous success with his first book “You Be You.” He does the TV talk shows circuit, appears at book signings, and has adoring fans. Yet he remains a shy, sheltered recluse, preferring to hang out in the pool of the huge house that he shares with his brother (Chris Morris). This all changes one night when he meets a free-spirited military brat named Val (Erin Mulgrew). She helps run a local used bookstore where Stephen shops.
After she mistakenly tries to sell him his own book, Stephen asks her out of a date. Despite a painfully awkward first date, the two start seeing each other. Things go swimmingly for the young couple until Val gets a new job opportunity; not only would it take her out of town, it would take her out of state. This does not sit well with Steven and his comfort zone; he doesn’t want anything to disrupt his safe world of contentment. This causes the two of them to break up and part ways. This causes Steven to realize that he has stayed in his comfort zone, but as thrown away his happiness. Will they both find a way to come to terms with their differences? You will have to watch the movie to find out.
99 Percent Sure is a classic romantic comedy in the vein of “When Harry Met Sally.” Two polar opposites are attracted to one another and the story unfolds to see if they can love each other despite of their differences. This is a story that has been told in literature for years, as well as performed on the stage and shown across movies screens. The challenge of any creative team that tackles this story is to make it fresh, and to introduce a few new wrinkles along the way. How does the cast and crew of 99 Percent Sure rate? Were they able to pull it off?
The answer is that Pat Taggart and company have put together an engaging movie that keeps the audience’s interest and absorbs them into the lives of the characters on the screen. For an independent film with no “name actors” that is very important! All the performers pull off their characters convincingly and there is not a weak link in the chain. Actor Chris Morris plays the character of Steven’s brother and has the unique ability of being able to be annoying yet completely endearing at the same time. I was also happy to see that his character was afforded the largest character arc in the film.
Technically the movie has the look and feel of a much larger budgeted production. Director of photography Daniel W. Brosnan does a superb job keeping the action moving in front of the camera by using dolly, pan, and crane shots. I give him credit for some shots that must have been a challenge involving the swimming pool sequences. Overall the lighting is well done too. The production values and design were top notch, as many locations were used, including a television studio, bookstores, restaurants, a hospital, and offices. Perhaps to some people reading this it might not seem like a big deal, but for indie pictures getting a lot of space and volume to the production adds a lot of texture to the finished film.
All in all I give this movie 8 out of 10 stars. It makes for a good date flick and has enough warm fuzzies even for the biggest curmudgeon. This is a screener so I don’t know what extras may get included on the DVD. If you get a chance to catch this at a film festival, I heartily recommend that you do so. It is a good movie and I hope that Pat Taggart and company find their audience with it. For more information on this production, go to the official website HERE.