CAN'T WIN DO TRY is a micro-budget film that, upon first glance, has an unappealing “DIY” quality about it. The dialogue is overwritten and contrived, and the character set-ups are unconvincing. However in spite of these problems I would urge all viewers to persevere, because what follows is a strangely endearing situation comedy that explores a typically American genre, while putting a very “Aussie” spin on it.
The story follows three guys living in a share house. The house is owned by Gordon, whose fiancee has agreed to let him spend a year living a “bachelor” lifestyle in order for him to shake off his adolescence before settling down. Gordon is prudish and adamant about sticking to his fiancee's rules, but when he and his best friend Jez invite an unhinged sex-maniac to board with them the course is set for a year of sex, drugs and debauchery. What follows is a comedy of errors and perversions by which relationships are tested, commitments are broken and fantasy football conquers all.
Written, directed and edited by DeCeglie the film presents a strange trajectory whereby the quality and technical competence evolves with the story. Those aforementioned DIY attributes at the beginning of the film develop into elaborate and confidently executed set-ups with smooth transitions, unshakeable tracking shots and proficiently calculated framing. What begins as a shoe-string passion-project actually becomes a stylish and affective indie film worthy of praise.
The cast is perfectly assembled, most of whom starred in DeCeglie's previous film JUGULAR, and their chemistry is evident. Harry Quinlin leads the film as Gordon and gives his character an understated nativity that underpins the entire story. A lack of online information suggests this is his debut performance and by all accounts it is a sturdy one at that. He is supported by Christopher Millington and Matt Furlani who both bring unique nuances to their roles. Millington has a sharp tongue as the best friend Jez, with an ability to dish Aussie colloquials with ease. His classic “you dickhead” style of insult is hilarious and well timed, and he balances irresponsibility with sensibility very well. As for Furlani... well.... talk about a show stealer! He plays the loose cannon of the trio who revels in sexual misadventure and immorality. His performance feels heavy-handed at first, with his whacked-out personality seeming out of place and forced... yet as the story unfolds and the frivolity takes hold, his undeterred performance ends up being the highlight of the film. His is a hysterical turn that will surely prove divisive for unsuspecting viewers.
With a 125-minute running time there is no doubt that CAN'T WIN DO TRY is far too long for it's own good, and I would welcome an aggressive re-cut should DeCeglie feel inclined. A lot of the dialogue would benefit from tighter edits and many of the comical situations could do with more restrain. Should DeCeglie tempt to whittle his clever little film down to 80 or 90 minutes then he would have a bloody great film on his hands. Nevertheless he has still delivered a rip-snortner that I highly recommend. Support the Facebook page, keep your eyes peeled and be sure to see it as soon as you can.