The Beta Test (2021)
Well, if the opening five minutes don't get your attention, then I don't know what else to tell you. Even before the credits, my eyes widened as my jaw dropped open. I realised I was openly grinning.
A shame then that this was the high point of the project. Not to say that I didn't enjoy Jim Cummings performance, writing and direction, but I just wasn't gobsmacked by it is all.
When a Hollywood agent receives a mysteriously ambiguous invitation for a 'dangerous liaison' with a total stranger, so begins a tale of infidelity and betrayal.
As a thriller, it never causes you any feelings of anticipation. The characters are not well rounded and the consequences never feel fully realised. It doesn't really thrill, in short. It doesn't excel at risk at any point and as Jordan (Cummings) unravels, it comes across more comical than tragic or dangerous.
I imagine Cummings thinks he is much more likeable than he comes across as, hence the decision to star as well as write and direct. The writing is not bad at all. It's sharp, often witty and caustic where it needs to be and sometimes when it doesn't.
Underwhelming overall, with a strong start that fails to continue throughout. One-dimensional and narcissistic by design, even if that focus is largely unwarranted. It's a barbed stab at corporate culture and the way some people survive today. Thankfully, I'm not one of them.