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  • Writer's picturePopEntertainment

Show Me What You Got (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


Starring Cristina Rambaldi, Neyssan Falahi, Mattia Minasi, Anne Broche, Karen Obilom, Giusy Frallonard, Pietro Genuard, Julia Bailey, Areg Barsegian, David Sheftell, Harrison Bacon, Cliff Rettalick, Andy Romanoff, Alessandro Giulliano, Helen Mahfar, Oliver Gruber, Alessandra Nitti and the voice of Anne-Laure Jardry.

Screenplay by Svetlana Cvetko and David Scott Smith.

Directed by Svetlana Cvetko.

Distributed by Level Forward. 95 minutes. Not Rated.

It is not easy to make a movie that feels completely like a foreign film which is mostly set in Los Angeles (with brief side jaunts to Joshua Tree, Italy and Paris). Yet Show Me What You Got totally feels like a foreign film – and I mean that mostly in a good way.

It may have to do with the fact that the narration by an unseen woman (we never learn exactly what her connection is to the story until the very end) is done in French with subtitles. (In fact, the film’s dialogue regularly bops back and forth between English, French, Italian and Farsi.) Also, the movie is filmed in moody black and white (except for one segment which briefly explodes with color). Maybe it just has to do with the fact that Show Me What You Got is essentially about a ménage à trois.

Whatever the reason, Show Me What You Got mixes the commonplace with the artistic, and has very relaxed – shall we say – viewpoints on sex and love.

It is the story of three artsy bohemian people, mostly scraping by in Los Angeles.

The only one that has any money… well his dad’s money… is Marcello (Mattia Minasi). (Strange coincidence? Marcello’s last name is the same as the actor playing him.) He is the son of a huge Italian TV star and is supposed to be taking meetings to set up work for his dad in Hollywood, but Marcello is a party boy and quickly gets bored of that.

Nassim (Neyssan Falahi) is a French Iranian immigrant who has moved to Los Angeles to become an actor, with very little luck. He has been supplementing his income as a personal trainer. However, even with that slight side income he is essentially homeless – crashing on different friends’ couches. His family has been pressuring him to come home to Iran. Literally, he has a plane ticket sent by his dad (his mom lives in Paris) to fly home the day that he meets Marcello, who is slightly melting down on the Malibu pier.

They start talking and Nassim tells him about his personal training. Marcello, who is impulsive, offers to hire him right then and there. Nassim, who is less spontaneous, agrees to it, never mentioning that it would mean him missing the plane home.

While training the next day, they go into a coffee shop to get ice and are served by Cristina (Cristina Rambaldi) both guys are attracted to her and show up at her work when she gets off. She decides to take that as charming and not stalkery and invites them to come to an art show with her. It turns out she is a conceptual artist and photographer who just works as a waiter to make money. (A variation of that statement can be made about lots of people in Los Angeles.) And like Nassim, she is homeless, sleeping at an all-night spa.

All their meetings seemed a little random, and I’m not 100% sure I buy how quickly they all bonded, but these things happen, so I’ll give the film the benefit of the doubt. They start all hanging out together, becoming friends, then having it become more intimate. Marcello rents a cottage for all three to live in and the group lives in a sweet bubble of love and lust before the real world starts to intrude.

The early days lead to a charming and light triad relationship, which is often beautiful, sometimes very funny, and occasionally just a tiny bit pretentious. Still, as said before, it has the feel of a foreign film and it is eminently watchable.

However, sometimes the film goes too far in its artiness. The climax of one of the major characters’ story comes due to a random twist of fate. It is merely a sad coincidence, which is not even shown on screen. This feels like a bit of a storytelling cheat, unnecessarily provocative, particularly since the character had seemed to have reached an epiphany already before this.

Also, sometimes storylines are just dropped, like when Marcello’s parents tire of Marcello’s party boy lifestyle and the fact that he is not taking the meetings he was supposed to in California, so they decide to cut him off monetarily. The next time they speak, the parents fly Marcello – and his two friends – to Italy. The fact that he was cut off by these same parents, even the idea that they may have ever been miffed with him, is never mentioned.

However, Show Me What You Got, does indeed show what it’s got; fearlessly, unabashedly, sometimes even a bit brazenly (I’m saying that as a good thing). The three characters (and the actors that play them) connect in a way that we’re willing to overlook slight flaws in the storytelling. Even if this relationship is unconventional, you can see why it would be attractive to all three. As an audience, it can be seductive to be a part of their world, before the real world intrudes on us, as well.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: February 12, 2021.


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