First things first. Any chick that rocks white overalls, Keds high tops and drinks Coors from brown stubbies has me dead to rights, man. Zosia Mamet (HBO’s “Girls”) does all of this and much more in the new romantic dramedy “The Boy Downstairs”. She also acts her ass right straight off.
Mamet is Diana, a young aspiring writer whose not at all confident in her craft or her relationship. Enter Ben, a burgeoning musician played by Matthew Shear (TNT’s “The Alienist”). Ben loves Diana, Diana loves Ben. Complications ensue, as in boy meets girl flicks they always do. Not a lot of new ground tread upon in this regard. However, it is in the mostly quiet yet compelling chemistry concocted between Mamet and Shear that we find a fresh, frank and funny take on a tale as old as the one of that original conflicted couple, Adam and Eve.
While mostly a yarn of the young ‘uns, a special shout out simply must go to the nearly effortless and totally natural work of the entire ensemble of “the old guard” in “The Boy Downstairs”. Veteran actress Deirdre O’Connell (“Hulu’s “The Path”) in particular radiates as a widower who serves both as landlord and confidante to damsel in distress Diana.
You may wanna be hip to the fact that at times some of the dialogue and dynamics come off as a bit contrived here. And Writer/Director Sophie Brooks’s stylistic choice to shift scenes back and forth in time can be flat-out befuddling.
These points notwithstanding, you’ll likely find yourself content to overlook such potential distraction as you focus on the fine performances of Mamet and Shear in “The Boy Downstairs”. For this talented pair take us along on a most eclectic and entertaining journey through that timeless and tricky minefield we have come to know as-and still for lack of anything better to call it-love.