Written and directed by Stella Meghie, The Weekend is a rom-com about a young woman who begrudgingly goes on a weekend getaway with her ex and his new girlfriend. The film is funny and features a strong leading lady, but doesn’t have much merit beyond that (JRL: 2/5)
Review by FF2 Intern Julia Lasker
At the start of The Weekend, Zadie (Sasheer Zamata) stands on a stage at a dimly-lit, sparsely populated bar where she performs stand up comedy. She muses about the struggles of getting over an ex, even one from three years ago.
Next thing we know, she’s climbing into a suburban with this very ex, Bradford (Tone Bell). They’re headed to a weekend getaway at Zadie’s mother’s inn, which is certainly a bit of a strange activity for two exes who seem to be barely clinging to their status as friends. But, somehow, it gets even weirder. Bradford is bringing his new girlfriend, Margo (DeWanda Wise) who, according to him, has been “dying” to meet Zadie.
There’s palpable tension in the air when the gang arrives at the inn. Bradford and Margo sit together on a picnic blanket, holding hands and kissing, as Zadie is planted awkwardly to the side, observing the whole ordeal. Then, as a glimmer of hope for Zadie, Aubrey (Y’lan Noel) arrives. He’s a young, handsome, and the only other guest staying for the weekend. Jumping at the chance to distract Zadie, Margo invites him to hang out with the crew. When he does, he takes a special interest in Zadie. To make the situation worse, Bradford becomes jealous of Aubrey. Zadie must figure out how to get through the weekend two men vying for her attention, one being an emotionally damaged new guy and one being an ex from years ago whose girlfriend is there watching his every move.
The Weekend is a romantic comedy with an emphasis on the comedy. Framed by Zadie’s stand up act and interwoven with her witty comments, the film’s humour was definitely its defining characteristic. Sasheer Zamata took on the role of Zadie nicely, keeping a tough, dry exterior while letting out her vulnerability through the funny, but often painful, jokes she cracks. Zamata carries the film.
However, the film didn’t manage to do much more than be funny. Because we are thrown right into this “weekend,” without establishing any character relationships or background information, the characters and their motivations feel confusing and hard to grasp. I’m left with questions like: Why would anyone agree to this weekend? Why is no one even trying to make the situation less uncomfortable, even though they knew exactly what they were coming into? The character arcs drag their feet, leaving everyone in the film stewing in the same, one-noted awkwardness for the majority of the action. My fundamental confusion and a subsequent lack of clarification or depth made it difficult for me to get into the story.
Character relationships also suffered from the squeezed timeline. *SPOILER ALERT*: Zadie’s mother, for example, is going through a divorce, but because so much is going on with their guests, the two aren’t able to work it out together in the way that I would expect. Or, if they don’t have the kind of relationship that means they won’t work it out together, there wasn’t enough exposition about the relationship they have to allow us to understand that.
Sasheer Zamata is great as Zadie, but she wasn’t able to make up for the empty and perplexing screenplay.
© Julia Lasker (9/21/19) FF2 Media
Photos: Credit to IMDB.