Starring Taylor Frey and Matt Dallas, Shoulder Dance is a new romantic dramedy from director Jay Arnold. It centers around a long-time unmarried couple, Ira (Dallas) and Josh (Frey), whose lives are stirred up by the arrival of Ira’s childhood best friend Roger (Rick Cosnett) and his girlfriend Lilly (Maggie Geha). The concept promises an interesting take on the dynamic between friendships and relationships, but the film ultimately falls flat due to an abundance of issues with the story, script, and production of this film.
The performances were the best aspect of this film, but unfortunately, most remained mediocre throughout. The film’s light premise and emotion-heavy story relied heavily on the leads’ emotional acting, but there seemed to be a lack of genuine emotional acting from the two leading men. In fact, every emotional scene felt stunted and awkward, as if the actors weren’t even sure where in the script and emotional journey these scenes fell. The most enjoyable performance was from Maggie Geha, who acted as a bright light of acting in an otherwise dull and awkward landscape.
Many of the scenes in this film felt randomly thrown in and senseless, as if the film would do just fine without them. The story moved so slowly, and took multiple of these senseless scenes to make a new point, instead of using this opportunity to show the audience new twists and turns with each story moment and scene. All in all, the majority of the film’s entire plot felt like only one act of a full story, and everything else was dragged out; many unnecessary performance moments did not deliver on their promise of interesting, heightened emotions.
There were also a few nonsensical aspects due to gaps in story logic and production issues. For example, there is an entire scene in which Josh talks on the phone to a friend while making a sandwich, but a not-so-close look at the sandwich shows that he is only using bread and celery to make this so-called “famous sandwich.” As a viewer, this felt like lazy craftsmanship and production. There were also story gaps in the childhood relationship between Ira and Roger, such as the amount of years they had known each other, and the age they had been when their relationship stopped. Many times, the characters alluded to some undertones in their previous relationship that simply could not have been possible at that age.
Unfortunately, Shoulder Dance was quite a let-down for such an interesting premise. However, Maggie Geha’s performance was one good thing to come from it, and I hope to see her in more large roles down the line.