Press Play – movie review

The fantasy romance Press Play concerns two young people who fall in love, before their happily-ever-after is struck by a boulder.

For some time, Chloe (Lyrica Okano) has been keen to set up her best friend Laura (Clara Rugaard) with her stepbrother Harrison (Lewis Pullman). He works in a record store run by Cooper (Danny Glover). When Laura and Harrison do finally meet, their attraction is instant. In no time, they’re inseparable. She’s a talented artist, while he wants to pursue medicine. They bond over music. He teaches her how to surf.

A noteworthy aspect of the record store is that it has a wall of pre-owned mix tapes. As their relationship deepens, Harrison and Laura start recording their own. And then, everything stops. However, magically and most unexpectedly, Laura gets a second chance when their mix tape transports her back into his arms. Mind you, making that permanent is a particularly difficult proposition.

Press Play is pleasant, fanciful, contrived fluff. If only miracles like these did come true. Populated by good-looking people in a picture-perfect setting, the best way to enjoy the movie is to go with the flow and let it wash over you. Yes, I’m asking you to suspend disbelief.

The detail in the storyline by James Bachelor and Greg Bjorkman (who also directs) is somewhat convoluted, but intent is never in doubt.  Still, I warmed to several of the straightforward characterisations, even if the narrative did have a manufactured feel.

Clara Rugaard brings her character’s driven persona to the fore. She is passionate and insistent. Her facial expressions add weight to her performance. As he beau, Lewis Pullman has an easy-going charm. There is a playfulness about Lyrica Okano’s characterisation of Laura’s BFF. I wasn’t quite as sold on Danny Glover’s portrayal of the ageing record store proprietor who adds life experience.

The Hawaii locations are a cinematographer’s paradise and Luca Del Puppo doesn’t let us down. What does though are boom mics appearing in several scenes – disappointing and unprofessional.

Still, there’s clearly an audience out there for those who choose to believe in the power of enduring love, as portrayed by those in the prime of their lives.

Alex First

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