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  • musical-421 May 2004
    I saw this film at a screening at The Hollywood Film Festival and without a doubt, it was the best short film that weekend. It is the type of comedy that Hollywood needs to make more of. The cast is superb, Shad Hart is a genuine talent, Amber Mellott was captivating, and the writing and directing were stellar. Before the end of the film, I was applauding! I haven't done that since the first Matrix.

    The film, in a nutshell, is about the rise of a young tennis player (Shad Hart playing himself, strangely enough). The film packs in every hysterical cliché from the teen films of the eighties (Teen Wolf, Can't Buy Me Love, etc.) in about a half an hour. The crowd seemed to love this as much as I did.

    I hope somebody has the good sense to grab hold of this idea; I'd shell out good money to see the feature.
  • The problem with offbeat comedies is that they often seem desperately in need of a trim. Even well-loved films like The Big Lebowski,The Blues Brothers and current midnight-show favorite Wet Hot American Summer seem like they would have been better if a little less time had been spent between jokes. Advantage Hart does not have this problem. The new short film, playfully directed by newcomer Jeff Seibenick, is a rousing 34 minutes of comedy. In fact, the film is probably exactly what would happen if you squished the wacky humor of a 90minute comedy into a nice bite-size version. In only 34 minutes, the film has the emotional melodrama of a sports hero movie, the contrived romance plot of a teeny-bopper comedy, the gratuitous curses and butt shots of any National Lampoon sex romp and the sunny warmth and naïve brightness of a Disney Channel special. But most importantly, "Advantage Hart" parodies all of the very same styles it follows. The novelty of the film's overwritten style is the extent to which it doesn't take movies seriously. If you can't appreciate humor that's a little subtle, it's easy to miss the dopey charm of a movie with solemnly delivered lines like, "I can smell it in my bones." Advantage Hart certainly isn't without problems - the two main actors look too much alike, the borderline sincerity swings back and forth between comedy subgenres and the immediacy of the humor and gags begins to feel a little too frantic, like someone trying to pack a little more food into an already full stomach because they're running late. But for a project hell-bent on delirious brevity, Advantage Hart ages to take the time for some nice moments, particularly with Scrubs' Sam Lloyd as young Shad's coach, and the coach's perversely unhinged wife. Amber Mellott, playing the less attractive friend Shad doesn't seem to notice, also adds a cheerful toughness to a tired joke. This busy little movie is pretty sure it can win you over, and, by the end, probably will. Most importantly, though, if you look at the ages and statuses of the people who made it, Advantage Hart seems less like a jumbled hybrid and more like a promise of work to come. Already, the film's actors are beginning to move into TV and movies, the writers and director probably won't be too far behind. In a short film they've created a story with about five movies running through it: it's time for these guys to take the next step with a feature. Hey, who knows how their comedy might turn out if they're given the chance to do the full-length version?
  • I may be a little biased, since I'm from the same high school as the director and one of the main characters/writers, but I loved it. It was a cornucopia of all the quirky 80's humor and the parodies that made Jeff's films great in high school.

    Seibenick has many more gems like this in his collection, although they aren't quite as well produced. I'll just say that if youtube existed in the early 90's he'd be a millionaire by now.

    This film brings back that goof ball humor that gives us some new one-liners. If you haven't seen it, do what you can to find it online.

    And if all that's not enough, Kate Bosworth's in it:) Rock on!
  • The makers of this film have done an excellent job and have provided all of us with a taste of a film that should be made into a full length feature. Speaking as an average couch potato, this film was rather enjoyable. The content and comedy allowed this film to be a pleasant viewing experience for adults and, at the same time, not something that would make you want to keep the kids in another room. Hollywood needs more films like this.