Patrick (Nicholas Downs) is getting ready to marry Colleen (Holly Huebner) but before he walks her down the aisle, he’s got a bachelor party to go to organised by his brother Chris (Christopher Smith). The night takes a crazy turn thanks to a copious amount of alcohol and Patrick wakes up next to someone who isn’t his bride-to-be; his soon to be brother-in-law Barrett (Garett Weinstein). Despite his indiscretion, Patrick is determined to get married and will let nothing ruin his wedding day.
Playing It Straight is a short written and directed by Michael Kenney. Running at 20 minutes in length, Playing It Straight manages to pack a lot in to its short run-time and mixes comedy with drama with fantastic success. Focusing on Patrick, the short manages to avoid the sexuality struggle that many dramas of this kind tend to concentrate on. Instead Patrick is pretty blasé about what he’s done so long as it doesn’t ruin the perfect day he had planned. We don’t want to give too much away but the things he does to stop his drunken fling from coming out are pretty hilarious.
At the centre of it all is Nicholas Downs as Patrick. Downs has previously starred in the hit gay comedy Is It Just Me? as well as roles in TV shows such as Castle and NCIS: Los Angeles. As an actor he always convinces in whatever role he’s given and he’s a gifted comedy actor. The role of Patrick allows him to show his comedy edge but it also showcases his abilities as a dramatic actor too.
He’s surrounded by a talented cast too including Christopher Smith as his brother Chris who provides a lot of comedy particularly when he discovers that Patrick has spent the night with Barrett. Garett Weinstein is also worth a mention as Barrett and he leaves a lasting impression by the time the credits roll.
With it being a short there’s not too much time to really explore some of the supporting characters. Patrick’s fiancé Colleen, the rather adorable Holly Huebner, doesn’t get a whole lot to do but Huebner makes the most of her role. We’d like to spend a bit more time with this character, especially given one of the reveals towards the end of the short.
Director and writer Michael Kenney shows a lot of promise with Playing It Straight. This is his first project as a director and as a writer and we’re really impressed. He judges the pace right, gets great performances from his actors and his dialogue is really witty. We can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next.
We could actually imagine Playing It Straight as a long movie or even a web series. There’s a lot more that could be explored aside from what is shown here and it would be fun to see Patrick hiding his fling over a longer period of time. The short could easily translate to a longer episodic sitcom. Short, sweet and funny, Playing It Straight is a whole lot of fun with a surprising and satisfying conclusion.