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DVD Review: Skills Like This

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Skills Like This, winner of the coveted Audience Award at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival, is finally being released on video after amassing a great deal of buzz during its festival circuit. Directed by Monty Miranda, this artful comedy is uniquely amusing.

Spencer Berger stars as Max Solomon, an aspiring writer who realizes his career is going nowhere. Fed up with his ineptitude as a writer, he decides on a whim to rob a bank. He is surprised at how naturally he takes to being a thief. In a Robin Hood-esque turn, he doesn't even keep the money that he steals. Rather, he steals for the exhilarating rush that he feels. His two best friends react differently to his new chosen career as an outlaw. Brian Phelan plays the incredibly daft Tommy, who is fired up and ready for action as Max's accomplice. Gabriel Tigerman is Dave, a much more reserved person with the level headed thought that Max's antics will land all three of them in jail. Lucy (Kerry Knupe) is the attractive bank teller Max robs and not too later finds himself involved with romantically. As Max continues down his blossoming career of thievery, his friends have to make hard choices about the future, especially when his stealing habits begin to effect the people he cares about the most.

As far as special features go, this disc offers thirteen minutes worth of deleted scenes and another seven minutes of cast and crew interviews. Two trailers are included. One of these is a "fundraising trailer," which is a screen test with the cast that is designed to look like it was lifted straight from the movie. The director realized that this movie trailer for a movie that did not yet exist was a fantastic sales tool. In a month and a half, with the aid of this trailer, half of the money necessary to make the movie was raised. The SXSW acceptance speech is included, as well as biographies and information about the soundtrack. All in all this is a nice package of extras.

This offbeat comedy is reminiscent of Fun With Dick and Jane, infused with a splash of Napoleon Dynamite. Skills Like This does a good job highlighting the eclectic music scene in Denver, and the outstanding music displayed throughout the movie is definitely one of the highlights. The chemistry between the cast is genuine, and watching the three friends play off of one another is amusing. Though it is on the shorter side (the runtime is just under 90 minutes) and the ending really leaves some frustrating ends (for one character in particular), this honest indie movie features a comedy style of a very unique brand, and it is worth checking out.

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