Austin Film Festival 2017 Review: AMANDA & JACK GO GLAMPING

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Two years ago at AFF, I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing a phenomenal documentary titled A Single Frame and enjoyed meeting and interviewing its Austin-based director Brandon Dickerson.  An AFF regular, Dickerson has screened some of his films at the festival and brings his latest to the fest this year, a comedy titled  Amanda & Jack Go Glamping.  The movie deals with the issues associated with both career and marital woes and the importance of rising to meet these challenges.  Starring Amy Acker, David Arquette and Adan Canto, Dickerson’s latest is a highly enjoyable movie that definitely delivers when it comes to the comedy.

Acker and Arquette star as Amanda and Jack Spencer, a married couple facing both financial and marital troubles.  Jack once has a successful career as an author.  However, after the poor reviews and sales of his most recent book, and some struggles with writers block, Jack’s career has been stagnating in a major slump.  Jack’s depression and unwillingness to try other work has put a major strain on his marriage with Amanda and on their finances.  Thanks to the help of Amanda’s brother, the two decide to take a retreat into the woods for some glamorous camping (glamping), romantic alone time, and some time to reflect on their problems and some possible solutions.  Things don’t go quite as expected when it turns out that another younger, hipster couple gets double booked with them at the same time.  To make matters more complicated, the superfit and charismatic land owner Nate (Adan Canto) joins the party and only has eyes for Amanda.

Dickerson’s movie may not offer much new in terms of drama and conflict to the marital comedy, but his film succeeds and entertains because of the well-written and performed comic gags in the movie.  The humor is intelligently written and has fun with hipster culture, self-sustainability movement, the egos of artists, and the problems of jealousy in relationships.   The movie features great performances by Amy Acker, David Arquette, June Squibb, Nicole Elliott, Daniel Ross Owens, Gustavo Gomez, and Chris Carpenter.  It is Adan Canto, however, who definitely steals the show as the charming, but pretentious, land owner Nate who often talks a good game and poses another threat to Amanda and Jack’s marriage.  Set on Dickerson’s beautiful property in Elgin, Texas among his beloved animals, the movie offers the calming beauty of the country in addition to the hilarious characters and scenarios.  It is a film that is sure to entertain its audiences well.

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