By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Based on the short film of the same name by writer/director Michael Angelo Covino and co-writer Kyle Marvin, The Climb is an often uproarious, but also poignant portrait of two best friends during several stages of their adult lives. Loosely based on their real friendship, Covino and Marvin also star in the film, portraying fictionalized versions of themselves. Though this might sound a bit self-involved, the filmmaker partners have nevertheless created comedy gold with a large warm heart. It is a movie that celebrates the close brotherhood male best friends often share–through good times and bad.

The film opens on Mike and Kyle biking up a hill. At this stage in their lives, Kyle is preparing to marry his fiancee Ava. That is, until Mike reveals that he and Ava have been having an affair. Devastated by the shocking news, Kyle calls off the wedding and decides to end his friendship with Mike. Flash forward a few years later, Kyle and Mike bond again after Ava tragically dies after having married Mike. The movie follows the lives of the two friends as they often get themselves into trouble or embarrassing situations. However, through thick and thin, these two buds have each others’ backs no matter what the trouble is.

I was both impressed and entertained with this movie. Both Covino and Marvin have chops when it comes to comedy buoyed with poignancy and Covino proves himself as a solid director. Both of these talented filmmaker also shine brightly as actors, have a wonderful chemistry together, and simply have excellent comic timing. The movie also features great performances by Gayle Rankin, Judith Godreche, Talia Balsam, George Wendt and Daniella Covino.

The Climb serves as a fine example of no frills, independent filmmaking . I feel that this movie deserves to find masses of fans and admirers, but may take some time to pick up some momentum. To my readers, I hope that you have the opportunity to watch this movie, as it is highly entertaining with just the right amount of earnestness.

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