The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
First One In boasts a silly premise with a fun range of actors in a pristine tennis-white world.
A debut feature from Gina O’Brien, who also wrote the film, there’s nothing inventive or new in the style, but it’s entirely proficient and could easily pass as the work of a much more experienced director. Both stylistically and tonally, the film reminded me of binge watching a sitcom, and I mean that as the highest compliment. O’Brien utilises the comedic abilities of her cast and embodies her world with the eerily sterilised yet natural feel of a country club.
After a stint on a reality TV program leaves her a national disgrace, realtor Madi ends up with a job at tennis obsessed Bobbi’s firm, but when she bonds with a group of misfit players, the game gets serious. It’s an odd plot that is hard to verbalise, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. There’s quite a lot going on to begin with, but once Madi settles with her newfound group, everything starts to fall into place and you can relax into the satirical humour. The real heart of the plot is within the relationships between the ensemble cast, and it’s these moments that really spur the film along.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Any of these characters could be pulled out and placed into an ABC/NBC/Fox sitcom with little need for change. They’re delicious to watch, and each actor has truly committed. It’s lovely to see Georgia King back on the screen, reprising control freak villain vibes that hark back to Wild Child. She chews the scenery and makes it look oh so delicious.
It’s a who’s who of ‘what do I know them from?’ and the answer for more than one is Orange is the New Black. It’s lovely to see so many character actors getting a bit more screen time, and they feel fully bonded as a cast and team.
Yes there are some stereotypes, mostly within the realtor office, but what would a good satire be without them?
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
'First One In' Is A Fluffy Film That Won’t Stay With You
SO many tennis balls. Just tennis balls everywhere. I’d love to have a conversation over drinks with whoever designed Bobbi’s realtor office, as it is just brilliant. It’s also clear that either O’Brien or someone within her art department is a big film fan, with some cute Stephen King references dropped in just for fun.
First One In (2020) | PRIME VIDEO
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Nothing wrong, but nothing special, with less grunts than you’d get from Wimbledon, but weirdly… some meows?
First One In is a fluffy film that won’t stay with you for too long, but it was a wonderful place to visit on my Saturday afternoon. Excellent casting and cast charisma push it higher than the average low budget flick, and it has given me a real hankering to go buy some tennis outfits.