Rating: 3 out of 5.

In the first five minutes of Wyrm, the quirky new comedy from writer/director Christopher Winterbauer, our shy lead Wyrm (Theo Taplitz) gets told by a friend that his sister just got fingered yesterday—“thought you should know!” This early zinger sets the tone for a film that instantly reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite and Gentlemen Broncos. Set in an alternate version of the 90s, Wyrm must complete his Level 1 Sexuality Requirement (share a kiss with someone!) in order to get his own personal collar removed from his neck. A vibrant soundtrack and the coming-of-age narrative reflects indie filmmaking at its best.

Wyrm exudes tenacity and charm, serving as a hilarious showcase for rising star Theo Taplitz and the layered supporting cast. The young adult trappings to the story are slightly underutilized. I would have loved to see more about how this strange version of the 90s fully functions. When a milestone is reached, I felt we were nearing the organic end to the story, and I was surprised when it kept going significantly longer afterward. The padding on the runtime in the final act is not a dealbreaker, at least for this viewer. The soundtrack, bubbly cast, and sharp dialogue make for breezy watching. Wyrm is so quotable that it’ll make you want nachos every day, and that’s a fact.

Wyrm premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival, April 8th – April 18th, 2021.

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