A first date takes a series of increasingly awkward turns in Bobby Broady Best’s micro-short Ice Breakers.
Romantic comedies are light-hearted, humorous, and/or dramatic stories centred around romantic ideals such as “true love”, the ability to surmount most obstacles, or the “perfect couple.” Romantic comedy films are a sub-genre of comedy films as well as romance films.
Ice Breakers is a short 3-minute meet-cute that gives us two likeable characters on a first date (of sorts). Sat on a park bench, our couple Anna Stadler and Sterling Gathers chat away to each other about themselves, their family, their friends, and where they grew up to see if there is a spark or connection.
The basic plot of any romantic comedy is that two people meet and then part ways due to an argument or other contrived obstacle. Initially, these two people do not become romantically involved, because they believe that they do not like each other, this is usually because one of them already has a partner or social pressures. However, the screenwriters leave obvious clues throughout the film that suggest that these characters are in fact attracted to each other and that they would be a perfect match, if only they could see it themselves.
While some of this does occur in Ice Breakers, due to its short running time, it plays out more like one small scene from a much larger movie as opposed to its own self-contained and complete story. As the short ends, we are left with a lot of questions and a lot of loose threads which, if this is a teaser for a feature, can be seen as a positive, but judged on its own merits leaves us wanting more.
The cinematography by director Best is serviceable but other than a nice establishing tracking shot that sees our couple walk along a boardwalk, there isn’t a lot of camera movement to focus on. Both characters are sat on a bench talking for the duration of the short and we have a static two-shot that cuts between the two of them.
Usually, in romantic comedies our two lovebirds are separated, then realize that they are “perfect” for each other and are in love with the other person. The script of Ice Breakers written by Chase Kiefiuk re-uses this separation trope in the form of dialogue, it’s a clever script with the words acting as the catalyst for that separation as opposed to anything physical. We see the effect that inexperience has on these two people as their conversation takes odd twists and turns; whether that is through their jokes landing a bit flat or the sheer coincidences that seem to affect their feelings towards each other. We can see the confusion and watch as the second thoughts become etched onto their faces.
The two lead performances are strong and add to the overall enjoyment of the short while the aforementioned clever script helps to lift the quality. I can imagine it was a lot of fun to perform. Overall, Ice Breakers is a cute comedy with a cute couple, using a cute script, that, even though it isn’t long enough to make an impact, is nice enough to make you smile.