Rating: 4 out of 5.

A romantic comedy that strays from the norm, Long Weekend takes the viewer on an unforgettable emotional journey. Anchoring it are two powerful lead performances from charismatic Finn Wittrock, and an electric Zoe Chao. Chemistry is a vital component when it comes to the success of any rom-com, and Wittrock and Chao have this in spades. Casting director Kate Geller found that perfect mix of cutesy and sexy that unquestionably ties our two leads together. Through various twists and turns, the love at the film’s core is believable and compelling.

Bart (Finn Wittrock) isn’t exactly on top of the world: his fiancé left him, he had a nervous breakdown, and he’s on the cusp of moving into the garage of his best friend, Doug (Damon Wayans Jr.), no longer able to afford the rent at his cozy apartment. After falling asleep in a theater, a chance encounter puts him in the crosshairs of mystery woman, Vienna (Zoe Chao). The two share an instant connection when they go off to a bar together. Vienna is a walking red flag: she carries tons of cash, but doesn’t have a phone or identification. Demons of their past threaten to invade Bart and Vienna’s relationship as the omnipresence of an uncertain future hangs in the balance.

The film throws an interesting twist into the mix around the halfway point that takes the storyline in an exciting new direction. The mystery element could’ve been dialed up to explore more of the story implications and broaden the scope. Bart and Vienna’s love for each other continues to grow and flourish, even in the midst of this surprising new development. When the dramatic depth is called upon, Wittrock sells it with his magnetic vulnerability. Wittrock, Chao, and Wayans Jr. deliver memorable, witty lines from a committed, structurally complex script. As previously mentioned, the cast together just clicks, and they develop a dynamic synchronicity. Certain beats maintain the comfortable predictability of rom-com genre cliche. In spite of this caveat, there’s a warmth that comes with the familiarity. Long Weekend wraps itself around the viewer like a warm, cozy blanket. Long Weekend releases in theaters Friday, March 12th, from Stage6 Pictures.

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