Directed by: Michael Angelo Covino
Written by: Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin
Starring: Kyle Marvin, Michael Angelo Covino, Gayle Rankin, Talia Balsam, George Wendt, Judith Godréche
“The Climb” is one of the many, varied reasons I got into reviewing films – it’s inventive, it doesn’t wear out its welcome in the first five minutes. It made me laugh in hysterics. When I saw it at Sundance, I wasn’t watching it to review the film, but to enjoy it.
At its heart, “The Climb” is about the fragility of relationships – friendships and romance, specifically—Mike and Kyle, who play themselves (Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin, respectively). Friends since childhood, Mike and Kyle are having a casual conversation as they bike through the French countryside about life when Mike tells Kyle he’s sleeping with his fiancé. That argument leads to a series of humorous pratfalls that affect the lifelong friendship between the two men, eventually sending them on their separate ways.
Yet, as John Hammond would opine, life finds a way to bring these two fiercely stubborn men back together. And in an homage to “The Odd Couple,” their eventual reassociation comes as Mike, overweight and an alcoholic, stumbles back into a life he once knew.
The characterizations that the duo develop over the course of their script are as real-to-life as I’ve seen in quite a long time. That human element is what gives “The Climb” the edge. They didn’t go for the Neil Simon-Esque episodic type set up either: Kyle and Mike’s journeys, together and separate, are a visceral part of the experience. We really learn what makes these two guys tick, through thick and thin and in between genuine guffaws.
Genuine. That’s the word I’ve been seeking to describe “The Climb.” This is a genuine film about genuine feelings, and it isn’t afraid to express those feelings either. Just ask George Wendt, who plays Jim, Kyle’s father, as he gives Mike some fatherly advice. Audiences should resonate with that.
Speaking of . . . . nine some-odd-months later, the film is finally available for an audience to enjoy it, though I doubt many will. And that isn’t because the film is bad.
In fact, it’s the opposite.
“The Climb” is, perhaps, the antidote for what we are all suffering through right now – cabin fever from being stuck in our homes; from being around family nearby for such an extended period of time, or isolated to your home office without the feeling of being around other human beings.
Believe me, I can attest to this personally.
And that’s why “The Climb” has the power to be such an amazing gift. Yes, you’ll have to go to a movie theater to catch it, if you’re willing. The decision, much like Kyle and Mike’s decisions, is entirely within your own power to make.
But, the opening scene alone is worth the price of admission, and seeing it on the big screen is all the more worth experiencing “The Climb.”
If you elect to wait for home video, then watch it with your closest friends or family members (socially distanced, of course.) Either way, gear up for a genuine, down-to-earth, human interest story, along with many laughs.
“The Climb,” now in select theatres, is Highly Recommended.