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Dad Pals Short Film Review


Directed by: Kyle Kenyon

Written by: Kyle Kenyon

Starring: Hannah Garces, Geoff Ross, A.J. Salas


The “daddy issue” predicament is not uncommon. Children have been scarred by it both in reel and real life. Many movies have extracted juice out of it for an intimate experience. So what makes Kyle Kenyon’s Dad Pals any different? Well, everything. Be it the over-the-top treatment or the zany style, every element here makes Dad Pals disparate from its fellow peers. This 5-minute short film not only confronts the daddy issues but also pokes fun at the various tropes and reasons behind it.

Kenyon adopts the video game-y method for his narrative. The characters - Hannah (Hannah Garces), Geoff (Geoff Ross), and Pitters Jr. (A.J. Salas) - play a video game. Soon, Hannah and Pitters start playing with (or make fun of) Geoff’s chummy bond with his father. At first, Geoff is regarded as a loser and his friends as winners. But by the time the short ends, Geoff emerges as the champion while Hannah and Pitters turn out to be the defeated players.

The fuss is created when Geoff casually mentions that he is attached to his father and vice versa. Hannah and Pitters are not able to digest this fact and initiate the mocking comments. They are not alone. A woman (Nina Concepción) briefly enters the frame and taunts Geoff (she ends up scoring double Dab Bonus). If you closely listen to the insults, you will discover the insecurities hiding behind them. At first, the taunts resemble the done-to-death cinematic tropes used in several similarly themed movies. As they pile up, you notice that they are further coming from a personal space. Hannah and Pitters project their bad memories onto the curtain of farce. You wait for them to trip and fall into the pit of melodrama. You know, mad laughter giving way to sentimental tears.

Dad Pals, however, is not that kind of film. It’s dutifully committed to its waggish and absurdist tone and exhibits no intentions of deviating from its route. When tears stick on Hannah and Pitters’ faces, you wonder whether now the short would take an opportunity to set foot in the realm of mawkishness. But no, it does not. Yet, Dad Pals manages to be both amusing and heartfelt. The performances smoothly move from being exaggerated to charming. You smile and, for a few minutes, forget about your issues with your daddy.


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