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The Independent Critic

Sergio Castillo, Kat Pena, Travis Mitchell, Ron Orlovsky, Woodrow Proctor
Philip Vickery
14 Mins.

 "Reina" Travels a Weird, Strangely Compelling Journey 

After about a minute of Reina, you'll be sorry you've stumbled into the interminable date between Michelle (Kat Pena) and Seth (Sergio Castillo), a wildly awry first date between two people who very possibly couldn't be more mismatched. 

While a disinterested Michelle types away on her smartphone, the obviously unaware Seth recounts, in tremendous and emotionally heightened detail, the not quite resolved relationship with his beloved Reina. 

This ain't going anywhere, you know? 

However, writer/director Philip Vickery has more up his sleeve than some mismatched love affair and that sleeve, once revealed, brings to life a quietly funny, strangely sweet little comedy in which Michelle's decision to give Seth a second chance puts the two smack dab into some unsavory situations with strangely sympathetic bad guys. 

Pena picked up a nomination for Best Actress at Portland Comedy Film Festival, while Travis Mitchell picked up a deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Northern Virginia International Film and Musical Festival where the film also picked up noms for Best Romantic Comedy and Best Comedy. 

It doesn't take long for Reina to become the entertaining, involving film that you'd hoped you stumbled into, Castillo's Seth a sympathetic fellow with some admittedly unhealthy attachment issues while Pena's Michelle possesses a wealth of quietly hilarious facial expressions and expressions of bewilderment that keep you laughing alongside Travis Mitchell's scene-stealing turn as Sergey alongside Ron Orlovsky's Dmitry and Woodrow Proctor's Vlad. 

Vickery takes his time bringing the story to life, allowing the film's natural and relational humor to shine and giving it several "wait for it" moments that reap rich rewards. 

Reina is sweet. Reina is funny. Reina is a little ball of cinematic joy that will catch you off guard with its off kilter warm and winning charms. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic