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The Independent Critic

Trevor Duke, J.D. Achille, Randy Veraguas
Chris Esper
9 Mins.

 "Undatement Center" the Latest Short from Chris Esper 

Jack (Trevor Duke) wants to get back into the dating scene after a rather extended absence. 

Boy, how things have changed. 

In writer/director Chris Esper's 9-minute short film Undatement Center, Jack's attempt at re-entering the world of dating is met with a whole new slew of regulations before he can even hope to meet the first woman. Despite working through all the required red tape, Jack is repeatedly shot down in a world where the dating scene is pretty much controlled by those who invest in the biggest packages. 

Gee whiz. Get your mind out of the gutter. 

Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Jack ups his investment and quickly becomes the very things that have irritated him most. 

Then, he meets Lindsey (J.D. Achille). 

Undatement Center is a breezy and entertaining short film with Duke convincingly portraying both sides of Jack, the guy who just wants a date and the guy goes on a bit of a power trip once he's the one in control of the process. Fortunately, Duke never takes Jake so far into bad Jack that we stop caring about his predicament - instead, we just find everything awfully funny. 

The film's biggest fault may, in fact, be that we only get introduced to the wonderful Lindsey late in the film. As portrayed by J.D. Achille, Lindsey is a complete breath of fresh air in the film infusing it with heart, humor and just the right hint of playfulness. While Undatement Center doesn't exactly demand a complex performance from Achille, hers was the type of performance where I finished the film and instantly looked up her credits. She's a definite gem with a slew of indie short and feature credits in recent years. 

Production credits are solid throughout Undatement Center with Mikel J. Wisler's lensing having a terrific time with the facial expressions that bounce back and forth, while Steven Lanning-Cafaro's original score is lively and companions the film quite nicely. 

Writer/director Chris Esper is becoming an increasingly familiar name on the indie fest circuit and Undatement Center should continue that growth with its quick, funny story playing out just perfectly and ending at just the right time. For more information on the film, visit its official website linked to in the credits.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic