Red Rover is a movie that proves that a movie doesn’t need a huge budget to tell a story. Although the story of the movie is not the best, it is able to create a fluid one.
The movie starts with introducing the main character Damon, who by all accounts fits the loser trope. He is nonathletic and a bit overweight, he is meek, he works for a shitty boss that constantly takes advantage, and he lives in the basement of his ex’s house. He seems to be losing control of his life as he loses his job and his ex her new boyfriend has asked him to move out. It is when he is at his lowest that the mystical force of Phoebe comes to give his life purpose again.
The biggest issue with this movie is this relationship. Through what I would call magic, Phoebe seems to sense that Damon needs her and comes to his rescue. When they meet, it is late at night and alone at the beach while Damon combs the beach with a metal detector. Phoebe has no issue approaching this strange man and gives him the hope he needed when he was the most down. Now the rest of the movie is about the change that she brings to his life as she helps Damon with his goal to go to mars. There is a contest to go to mars, but that isn’t incredibly important.
Now Phoebe is a modern-day manic pixie. She is quirky, bubbly, free spirited and the opposite of what Damon is. But she is also exactly what he needs. This makes the film seem more like a fantasy that Damon has made up because it doesn’t necessarily make sense. Fate keeps them constantly bumping into each other and she seems to always know what to say to make Damon feel better. Like I said, it isn’t the best story, but they are able to tell it well considering their small budget.
But this film does keep the same quirky tone throughout, which I thought works for this movie. It doesn’t get annoying and I honestly had a lot of fun watching it. What I thought it did well was the date scene. It is a carnival montage, but instead of having it set to the tune of a pop song, it is a conversation between the two. It works incredibly well here because as they date progresses and they get closer; you can also hear it in the conversation. A conversation that adds depth to both of their characters by not only providing back story, but also insight into who they are as people. Albeit not the most original back story, but it works well enough to make the characters a bit more memorable.
Now this isn’t going to be the best movie experience you will have this year, but it does its job to entertain. You will need to suspend your disbelief on parts of the movie and it does feel like a fantasy of a man going through his midlife crisis, but it’s a fun movie to watch. Maybe one you don’t have to pay too much attention to. It is impressive what they can achieve with such a small budget and it should merit a watch just on that alone. I would be curious to see what else the film makers can do with a bigger budget and I will be looking out for what else they are able to come up with.