“Newly Single” is not the peppy romantic comedy its name may suggest. This explicit film, directed by and starring Adam Christian Clark, is an intense emotional rollercoaster about the dating life of an unbalanced filmmaker.
Clark plays Lester, a conceited young man struggling to make it as a writer and director in Los Angeles. The movie weaves back and forth between his efforts to get his film off the ground and his romantic life after/during a difficult breakup.
As the story progresses, the parallels between the two become more and more evident, in ways that range from comical to sinister. By the end of the movie you can’t help but wonder whether the film he is struggling to make is his outlet for how he would like his love life to be, or the other way around. What’s clearer is Lester’s inflated ego is far more fragile than it appears at first. He wears a different mask depending on who he’s with, and he’s with so many different people in the story that even you, the viewer, has to actively try to discover who he really is.
Through its music, style and clear use of symbolism, the movie definitely has an old-fashion vibe to it. Indeed, the old-time charm that it opens with makes its increasingly explicit sex scenes that much more surprising.
Its plot is fragmented to the point of feeling directionless at times. While its seeming lack of purpose can make it hard to stay interested, Clark’s riveting and convincing portrayal of a delusional, insecure teenage boy in a man’s body, as well as the performance of rest of the cast, does not.