30-year-old Andrew Andrews (Will Klipstine) has never had a friend, a girlfriend or, for that matter, much of a life experience at all.
Still, Andrew wants to be somebody.
It ain't gonna' be easy.
A gentle, easygoing comedy co-written, directed by and starring Will Klipstine as a 30-year-old manchild, The Evolution of Andrew Andrews is equal parts Billy Madison and Lars and the Real Girl with its blend of sophomoric humor, tender sweetness and fundamental goodness.
Having had its world premiere at the Houston Comedy Film Festival in December 2009, the film was also recently accepted into Dances With Films and will screen at 7:15 pm on Thursday, June 10 at Laemmle Sunset 5 Cinema in Los Angeles as its festival run continues.
Andrew is the sheltered son of a studio mogul (Tim Holtwick), whose trophy wife (Krista Ryan) insists he boot out the soon after he trashes an entire feature film in the course of one day. Without the shelter of his father's wealth, Andrew is forced to fend for himself but finds a bit of a compatriot in the kind-hearted Olivia (Amy Mills).
Where will this all end?
Surely, you know.
You do know, but the joy of The Evolution of Andrew Andrews is just how enjoyable the journey is to get there.
Clearly a vehicle for the comedic talents of Will Klipstine, the actor shines as a young man just a few steps removed from the goofy, adorable charm of Adam Sandler's Billy Madison. Klipstine is especially convincing as the evolution progresses, his early over-the-top routines a tad histrionic and unconvincing but as he experiences more and more encounters with humanity, both good and bad, Klipstine is definitely in his element.
The truly revelatory performance in The Evolution of Andrew Andrews belongs to Amy Mills, who co-wrote and co-produced the film and gives a genuinely funny and heartfelt performance that exudes a depth seldom seen in low-budget indie flicks. Mills is clearly an acting force to be reckoned with, and one can only hope her performance here continues to open cinematic doors.
While the film's gross-out humor may bring to mind any number of Sandler films, it is the marvelous chemistry between Klipstine and Mills that evokes memories of the underrated gem Lars and the Real Girl, starring Ryan Gosling as a similar young man whose disconnect from the real world leads to a genuine connection with a not so genuine woman until he meets a real girl (Kelli Garner). As the human connection sparks between Andrew and Mills' Olivia, The Evolution of Andrew Andrews evolves itself into a an indie comedic gem sure to connect with festival and niche' crowds.
The film is a stellar example of a film successfully growing out of its short film origins, likely successful because much of the cast and crew returns for this second go-round. The result is a film that feels less spontaneous but more grounded than a Sandler flick, perhaps more like a "real" story.
Chad Olivera's original score is marvelous, perfectly blending heart and humor, while the camera work of Martin George nicely balances the film's occasionally broad, outlandish humor with its more intimate, moments. George has a knack for knowing how long to hang with a character, capturing the subtlety underneath Andrew's goofiness and the thoughtfulness beneath Olivia's facial expressions and body language.
The Evolution of Andrew Andrews does occasionally fall victim to its indie origins, scenes that linger just a touch too long and supporting performances that are a touch hit-and-miss. However, what minor flaws exist in the film are largely overcome by its "go for it" humor and genuine love of its characters.
The Evolution of Andrew Andrews is silly and gross, tender and sweet. A wonderful vehicle for Klipstine's obvious comedic touch and featuring a truly marvelous performance from Amy Mills, The Evolution of Andrew Andrews is sure to be a crowd-pleaser throughout its festival run. If you get a chance, catch this indie jewel!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic