With the growing popularity of romantic comedies that use redundant or childish humor to speak to the smartphone using young crowd; the rom-com’s have lost their charm. They no longer serve the purpose they used to, i.e being a healthy and enthralling dose of entertainment and wit while telling a story that feels real. Adam Leon’s Tramps is a page-turner. It uses the age-old charm of a screwball comedy from the books of Frank Capra’s ‘It Happened One Night’ and serves it in a plate that feels fresh and relevant.
Danny is a polish speaking aspiring chef. When at home, he runs a betting ring with his rather chatty mother. Seemingly unable to pay his own telephone bill, Danny receives a shady phone call from his brother who is in jail for some reason. Unwillingly, he agrees to help his brother out in an exchange of briefcases for a job that seems really important to him. It all seems pretty straight forward. He needs to get into a car with Ellie (a girl who is looking for a way to return a favor), get a briefcase and hand it over to a woman with a green bag. But obviously, Danny fucks-up the exchange when he hands over the briefcase to the wrong woman.
The plot is as used up as it sounds. The film bases itself on a narrative that sounds way too convenient for its own good. The classic ‘handing the bag to the wrong person’ has been done to death by now. Yet, Tramps work. It breezes through all these narrative lags with an infectious chemistry and a sense of truthfulness. When Ellie and Danny find themselves questioning whether or not to cuddle with each other for warmth in rich guy’s poolside house it all feels organically developed. Using the phony french-new-wave-sort of plot driven chemistry and an astonishing choice of music, Adam Leon builds up a nice little indie rom-com with an abundance of charm and absence of superficiality.
Shot in the old-school 1.66 aspect ratio, the film stays true to the very basis of a boy and girl accidentally going on an adventure. There’s no mystery here, nor are the stakes high (I mean when one of the tough guys’ is Mike Birbiglia, you surely get the gist). But the film still feels like a dish worth tasting. One that doesn’t leave you with a bad aftertaste of having seen something from years ago.
One of the reasons why this parable of people who are broke and are looking for a way to escape, works, is the lovable chemistry between Grace Van Patten & Callum Turner. They don’t feel like textbook characters who are looking for sympathy and even when the finale gets a little too sugary, it feels well deserved. At a run time of 82 minutes, Tramps feels like a romantic treat that needs to be seen.
Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia.