Review: ARLO & JULIE (2015) "a charming Austintacious indie film"


Joseph Friar

By Joseph Friar
May 14, 2015 at 7:08 p.m.

ARLO & JULIE (2015)

Ashley Rae Spillers, Alex Dobrenko, Mallory Culbert, Hugo Vargas-Zesati, Chris Doubek, Annalee Jefferies, Sam Edison

Directed by Steve Mims 

There are many things to like about Steve Mims' charming comedy but what I love most about this delectable puzzler is the fact that it was shot in Austin and features a wonderful cast of Austinites. 

Arlo (Alex Dobrenko) and Julie (Ashley Rae Spillers) are a nice young couple living in a modest apartment.  She works as a waitress to make ends meet while he works at a computer company to supplement his income as a historian, Arlo just wrote an article about the civil war which earned him a big $25 paycheck.   

One day an envelope for Julie arrives with no return address, inside is one jigsaw puzzle piece.  The next day another envelope arrives with two pieces, followed by four the next day, and eight the day after.  Every day the couple receives a mysterious envelope with double the amount of puzzle pieces than the day before.  At first they think it's a contest sponsored by a car dealership (hoping to maybe win a Ford Escort) and soon the two become obsessed with solving the mystery.  The couple start missing days at work and neglecting their apartment while eagerly awaiting the postman (a good performance by Austin transplant Chris Doubek).  

The supporting cast includes Mallory Culbert and Hugo Zesati as Arlo and Julie's best friends and recently split couple Trish and Rob, Culbert is particularly funny as the psycho-ex, and Sam Eidson plays Arlo's concerned co-worker.  The entire cast shines making this film even more enjoyable. 

Woody Allen has professed his love for New York many times over by incorporating beautiful shots of the city in his films and Mims follows suit by using scenic Austin as his backdrop.  

Spillers and Dobrenko, who previously starred together in Hearts of Napalm, are great together in roles that were specifically written for them by Mims.  This couple is so likeable that I wanna hang out with them. 

Arlo & Julie is enchanting and relaxed, much like Austin, and features a charming cast.  Catch this delightful indie film at the Violet Crown Cinema this week. 

(3 stars) 

Now playing at the Violet Crown Cinema in Austin   



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