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Not My Day short film review

★★★

Written and directed by: Michael Costello

Starring: Mario McEntee, Michael Costello, John Linehan


 
Four characters from the film, an older male interviewer, a young man in a ripped suit, another young man and a granny, all face out at you with the film title above their heads.
Film poster for Not My Day

Jack (McEntee) really isn't having a good time of things. He's been out of work and on benefits for the past couple of years and he can't seem to get a break. Living with his Gran isn't helping either as she's down on him all the time and constantly haranguing him to pull himself together.


When we first meet Jack he's still in bed and already late for an interview. The numerous beer bottles surrounding him in bed point to the fact that Jack isn't really taking any responsibility for his predicament and that he's drowning his sorrows instead. With that said, Not My Day is not a hard hitting, socio-political drama with a biting commentary to drive home, but a scatter-brained comedy with a few sharp laughs thrown at the protagonist's expense. As soon as Granny (Linehan) steps onto the screen it becomes very obvious what type of story we're going to get from writer/director Michael Costello, and sure enough once that's established the rest of this ten minute short film doesn't disappoint.


Jack's day just goes from bad to worse as he tries his best to impress those who would hold his fate in their hands. The secretary at the job interview won't look at him and barely even registers his existence; the other interviewee waiting to be seen is a crazy lunatic with a penchant for firestarting; and the interviewer himself is a grade-A douchebag with a superiority complex. How is Jack supposed to get ahead in a world like this?


Inevitably, things go further downhill from here and Jack finds out incontrovertibly that this really is not his day. Luckily for us though, we can all have a good time laughing at Jack's problems and we can share in a good few jokes at his expense. The laughs do mainly hit home and the performances from the cast lend an energetic characterisation to the scenario playing out on screen. Mario McEntee, who came up with the original story for this short film, gurns and grimaces well as the hapless Jack, while Michael Costello puts in a suitably unhinged performance in front of the camera as the firebug, Clive. Top marks go to John Linehan though, as he channels the late, great Les Dawson to deliver the best lines of the script through his cross-dressing antics as Granny.


Technically the film holds together well with decent directing and good editing coming together to produce a short with very little fat on its bones. The narrative is slick and punchy and delivers everything it needs to without lingering in any one place for too long, while the music from James Everett fits the style of the story well with its light and bouncy Sims-esque themes.


Without being anything groundbreaking or too involved, Not My Day comes across as a nice little diversion into a weird and wacky world. It's fun, funny and lovingly presented although it never reaches beyond the confines of what it knows itself to be. If you're not having a great day yourself, flicking this on for a wee ten minutes should help give you the lift you need to get back on track and realise there's always someone else having a worse day than you.

 

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