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The Independent Critic

Timothy J. Cox, Wayne DeBary, Devin Craig, Jeff Mandel
Yalan Hu
6 Mins.


 "Doll It Up" an Entertaining Student Short 
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You have to hand it to Timothy J. Cox, a rather prolific player on the ultra-indie scene and a regular contributor of shorts to The Independent Critic - he's rather fearless when it comes to choosing his roles. From dastardly bad dudes to hilariously incompetent ones, Cox is constantly challenging himself to play a different kind of character and such is the case with this relatively familiar yet entertaining short film from writer/director Yalan Hu as part of the MFA program at Florida State University. 

Doll It Up stars Cox as Gunther, a seemingly ordinary chap whose marriage is anything but ordinary. His wife, Natalie, is a sex doll and their three-year relationship has grown, well, deflating. Impulsively, Gunther tosses aside the old in favor of a new young thing but he quickly learns that his new "love" isn't quite everything he'd hoped for and tries to win back Natalie. However, there's nothing quite like a silicone woman spurned. 

If you're relatively familiar with cinema, then you're likely already saying to yourself "Sounds an awful lot like Lars and the Real Girl," a Craig Gillespie film that mined similar territory to tremendous effect and led to an Oscar nomination for then up-and-comer Ryan Gosling. Doll It Up is no Lars and the Real Girl and Cox, enjoyable and entertaining as always, isn't quite up to Gosling's standards mostly owing to a script that serves up more soundbyte cinema than the complex layers necessary to really drive this story home. Instead, we're left with mostly snickers and the framework for a much better film. 

Doll It Up isn't a bad film, not at all. It's just not the film that it could have been and probably should have been, a film that never quite rises above its kindred relationship to a much better film and never quite makes its way into its own spotlight. On the plus side, Cox's relationship is spirited and fun and I'd dare say that the film's final few moments serve up some precious laughs and insights. Bailey Liu's lensing is solid throughout, while kudos must also be given to Jonah Johnson for a quality production design and to Dani Fiondella for a lively, fun art design. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic