A few months ago, I reviewed Michael Cross’s comedy Second Nature, an indie comedy with substance and heart. The movie recently secured a distribution deal, but the filmmakers have started an Indiegogo page to secure funding for marketing and theatrical distribution. I enjoyed the film very much. It has gorgeous cinematography, lovably quirky characters, and a refreshing sense of humor. The female-driven nature of its comedy makes Second Nature something different and very welcome. I encourage you, Front Row Central reader, to donate!
The movie centers on a mayoral election between an ambitious woman (Collette Wolfe) and a chauvinistic man (Sam Huntington). A bit of Bulgakov-esque magical realism flings them into a world where gender roles get reversed. Men wear makeup and wax dramatic over their emotional state. Women run the world, but “toxic femininity” forces them to bottle up their emotions and hide any sign of vulnerability. Our heroes have a week to figure out how to return to their original world… or if they want to.
The world needs more films like Second Nature. We live in a fortunate time: comediennes have more of an ability than ever to put themselves on the map, and streaming services have pitched in. We as a society have a long way to go, but stars like Mindy Kaling and Kristen Wiig and Jenny Slate and Leslie Jones have worked hard to level out Hollywood’s comedy landscape. In the last two years, Netflix alone has given us The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Grace and Frankie, Lady Dynamite, and Chelsea Does. Last year, Sara Benincasa made The Focus Group, an indie short where Benincasa gives us a frank, hilarious look at her life and her self-esteem. Cross has expressed an unequivocal wish to keep the comedy world moving in this vein, and Second Nature marks a step in the right direction.
If nothing else, supporting films like Second Nature makes for a great middle-finger to an electoral college that chose an unqualified demagogue who lost by 3 million votes!
Second Nature has the potential to take part in a new wave of comedy, one that refuses to punch down and represents more narratives than the dominant one. Its sense of humor forces the viewer to examine gender roles as social constructs and consider how much of our behavior and decisions stem from expectations thrust upon us rather than what we want for ourselves. The lighthearted atmosphere keeps the film from feeling heavy; it makes its point without becoming preachy. It’s a film that deserves an opportunity for wide viewership, and we can help make that happen.Liked This? Share It!