We Just Want To Play is a fun teen-comedy that follows the usual college/university traits. There are some positive signs and funny scenes but lacks in originality and is held back by some script issues and overall could have been tightened up.
What’s It All About?
The Ruckland University Men’s Rugby team is composed of an “Animal House” quality group of hooligans. Their recent success on the field has been overshadowed by the school’s Athletic Director who plans on using the team’s funds for his own endeavors. It is up to the boys to band together as a team to stop him from dissolving their program and ruining their chance at winning a league championship.From hardships, sprouts heroes. This lovable group of underdogs must look beyond the fun and games they have had in college and realize that they have found something much more than a rugby team, they found a family.
We Just Want To Play is a story we have seen many times before, the tried-and-tested formula of a college fraternity fighting the powers-that-be. This story is not completely original, there are a number of ingredients in here that we have seen many times before and the short doesn’t really do enough to make it stand out. However we are still treated to more than a few laughs that keep us entertained.
This short film was at its strongest during its opening and closing segments. These were both very well done and solid. These sections were both done to a high standard. The middle of the short is where this film seemed to struggle.
One of the main areas I had a hard time getting my head around was the fact that this fraternity was supposed to be the Ruckland University Men’s Rugby Team, however none of the people involved looked like they had ever played rugby in their lives. In particular both Ray and Glen, the two club captains looked far too skinny and not the least bit battle-scarred to be Rugby players, let alone team captains. I feel that going down the road of a soccer club or something less physically demanding would have been more suitable made the team more believable.
The film does succeed at showing the party lifestyle of the group. Ray is the party animal of the group and the character is really at his best in these elements. The beginning of the film introduces us to Ray and friends filming two girls in an attempt to get their video on a porn website, all in the middle of a huge party going on in their fraternity house. The problem with Ray is that his character continues to be in this ‘party-hard’ mind-set even in the calmest of scenes which I feel turned the character into a parody of itself and let it down a little.
A real highlight of the short for me was the interlude with the student broadcasters talking about the XIII Club Cup. This really helped to change the pace of the short and visually was very pleasing. The interlude was extremely well done, very funny and completed to a professional standard. The two broadcasters really made the most of their short segment and were instantly memorable. Overall this was one of the highlights of the film.
The overall performances did seem to be a little below par at times with the students. Some of the dialogue fell flat and the delivery could have had a little work done to it. In this sort of setting a little improvisation by the actors could have loosened up the delivery and helped to make it feel more natural. These performances did make some scenes feel a little forced.
There were one or two small potholes in the story that seemed quite noticeable. ‘Fast Eddy’ an asian character who apparently can’t speak english goes from requiring subtitles to winning the academic round of the XIII Club Cup. These are only small inconsistencies and don’t stop the enjoyment of the film but do make it look a little clumsy on the writing side.
I think writer Frank De Rosa does deserve some credit. His script did make me laugh at places and he included some witty dialogue. I liked the flow of some of the plot devices including the cocaine and the website ‘Campussy.net’ which are both present throughout the short and have purpose. These small details made it clear there was thought gone into the script, it’s just a shame that other parts of the story did not get the same attention to detail. Reflecting back on the short I think the script could have maybe gone through a few drafts to really tighten it up. Yes, there were a lot of good ideas but a little more time, work and preparation could have allowed the script to really flourish. I am not sure whether time was an issue with deadlines to hit or other constraints that effected this.
James Cappadoro was in the directors chair and again I thought he did a decent job but may have been pushed for time. There are portions that seemed as though they could have been a little rushed. The opening and closing of the short were both really well done, unfortunately the bits in between did not seem to have the same attention. He managed to capture the story but there was just little things that stopped making it special, something that would really grab the audience’s attention and capture them, I felt as though that was missing from this. Making a film is a great learning experience and I am sure James learned a lot. Hopefully when he watches the movie back he can note things that he would do differently next time. However, James gave it an excellent go for his first effort as a director and hopefully we will see more from him in the future.
One thing that did stand out in the short was the editing by Matthew Freund. There were some great transitions and freeze frames as Glen was narrating the story. The narration and story-telling was one of the highlights for me, especially the opening scenes at the party. Also the interlude with the student sports broadcasters was done to an extremely high standard and really stood out. I have no complaints with how the story was edited together, this was done very well and kept the story moving forward at a good pace.
Trevor Williams played Ray. I felt this performance went from the extremely amusing to the slightly annoying. There were times during this short where his portrayal of the character was great, an example being in the opening scenes at the party, however his character was getting a little irritating and forced by the end of the short. I have a feeling this may not have been the actors fault, this may lie in the script or the direction he was given. I feel like the improvisation I mentioned earlier could have levelled this character out.
Lars Lee played Glen. I liked the character of Glen, Lars did a good job of portraying the middle man, not quite ready to settle down but not quite at the party levels of Ray. He was an excellent narrator to tell this story that we all can relate to and I thought he came off well. Some of his lines were a little wooden and robotic, but these are things that any actor can work on with time and experience. Glen gave a good performance.
Timothy J Cox played Richard Dickerman. These authoritarian roles are when Timothy J. Cox is at his best. He has a great swagger about him and seems to enjoy playing these roles of power. He gave us a fantastic performance as the main antagonist of the short and he seemed to really feed off the character. Tim really stood out from the rest of the pack.
Alexandra Bartley played Whitney. I thought Alexandra did a really good job with her character and gave a great performance. Unfortunately I don’t think we really saw enough of her character, especially during the middle section of the short. If she had been given a little more time and development on-screen her pay-off at the end would have had a bigger impact.
While I did enjoy this short film and it managed to make me laugh, there were a number of issues that held it back. While the college humor was fun, the lack of originality made it forgettable. Some scripting issues and wooden performances at times over-shadowed some of the better moments. However this was a worthy effort and I did have fun watching it.