[Editor's Note: over the next few days, I'm reviewing movies shown at the KC Film Festival. The film fest runs from April 11-15. To learn more, visit kcfilmfest.org.]
“$55 for underwear? No ass is worth that much.”
A love story involving Scrabble? Count me in! Really, I didn’t need be sold on seeing QWERTY because I absolutely love Scrabble, but seeing the trailer during the KC Film Fest sneak peek last week completely confirmed my feelings about needing to be at the movie’s world premiere yesterday.
Bill Sebastian’s film is centered around a self-proclaimed “word nerd” named Zoe, who has the absolute best job ever– translating vanity plate requests for the state of Illinois to make sure they aren’t naughty words. The movie starts out with the vanity plate request “Tohzah,” which turns out to be the Klingon version of the F-word. Brilliant. Zoe is very odd and quirky, picking up dirty socks off of the sidewalk to turn into sock puppets. I tend to get irritated by Hollywood’s typical quirky female (don’t ask me about Juno or Ms. Deschanel… annoying), but I found her character very charming and endearing. She meets “Mucky” at a store where he is a security officer, and he proceeds to flip out over a $55 pair of underwear. And the love story begins. The chemistry between the two lead actors was really great– in fact, I was wondering if they were possibly together in real life, but it turns out that Bill Sebastian and Dana Pupkin (who plays Zoe) are married and Dana gave birth to their first child very recently (she was also at the movie premiere!).
I thought the writing was the best part of this movie. For a romantic comedy, it had enough snark and sass to keep the film from being eye-rollingly cheesy. There are several conversations between Mucky and Zoe as they make fun of Zoe’s coworker Bob, and later some patrons at a restaurant, that I found to be extremely funny.
The entire movie was shot on a Canon 7D (Sebastian’s dad had the camera they used with him at the premiere), and I thought the movie looked great visually. There were a few times when the Chicago skyline was superimposed into some scenes where, um, the skyline was not quite accurate, and as a former Chicago resident that bugged me a bit (but I’m also insanely picky and nutty). I also really enjoyed how Sebastian shot the scenes at the National Scrabble Championships. The interaction between Scrabble players and the quips from the commentators were very well done, and almost reminded me of some of the scenes in Dodgeball (which I hope everyone takes as a compliment, because I love that movie).
If you like romantic comedies and Scrabble, or if you miss Chicago (like me), I highly recommend seeing QWERTY. And I have some good news for those of you in Kansas City who missed the world premiere on Thursday– QWERTY will be showing at the KC Film Fest again on Saturday, April 14th at 8:00 pm at AMC Ward Parkway.