Austin Film Festival 2017 Review: WILD HONEY

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

My second film of AFF 2017 was the hilarious romantic comedy Wild Honey. Sweet, charming and a little bit risque, this movie aims for crowd-pleasing status and succeeds without being overly saccharine.  Written and directed by Francis Stokes, the film realistically deals with the issues associated with blind, long distance dating, comfortably toxic relationships, and finding the confidence and empowerment to embrace one’s true self.  With wonderful performances by Rusty Schwimmer, Timothy Omundson, Todd Stashwick, and Stephnie Wier, Wild Honey is a movie that deserves to reach the masses.

Rusty Schwimmer stars as Gabby, a down on her luck and unlucky in love woman stuck in a few ruts in her life.  When money runs short and her car gets repossessed, Gabby moves in with her fussy, but loving and doting mom Ruth (Paulette Cary).  While trying to get back on her feet, Gabby reluctantly takes a job as a phone sex operator.  Things start to get more interesting in her life when she becomes interested in one of her regular customers, a successful screenwriter named Martin (Omundson).  As the two become more intrigued with one another, Gabby decides to travel to Hollywood to visit him.  In addition to getting to know Martin, Gabby must face her estranged sister Esther (Weir) and deal with her jealous ex-boyfriend Vince (Stashwick).  Gabby must also face some truths about herself and the realities of her unusual dating situation with Martin.

Absolutely hilarious and quite lovable, Francis Stokes’s film had me and the audience members laughing often and utterly in love with the characters and story.  It truly is an empowering story for people to embrace their strengths and winning characteristics to find happiness in life.  People often shy away from challenges or new and exciting life experiences because of fear of failure or disappointment, Wild Honey shows that real happiness will never be found if people fail to face these fears and challenges courageously.  The movie is yet another romantic comedy which brings something fresh and genuine to the genre and works wonderfully because of this.

 

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