CALENDAR GIRL is a 2011 feature film directed by Derek Lindeman and written by Derek Lindeman and Faith Brody. Set in Philadelphia, the movie follows Ari a sarcastic goth-chic diner waitress as she struggles with her tangled love life, all while the city wrangles with a bout of serial killer hysteria. While keeping a self-promise not to let another New Year’s Eve pass without someone to kiss, Ari is torn between her abusive ex John, new interest Phil, and old old flame Chris. Of course, Chris is her one true love, but the situation is complicated by the fact that he’s newly engaged to someone who isn’t Ari.
Unfortunately, for both Ari and the viewer, cute photographer guy Phil who hangs around the diner sipping bottomless coffee for the chance to flirt with Ari is also the notorious Calendar Girl Killer. This is where the plot of the movie comes unraveled. Sharp-tongued Ari is hard to like in the first place, so her acceptance (and even titillation) about being the muse for a vicious killer is difficult to reconcile. When she draws the line at Phil’s plan to murder her friend Julie, after he’s already murdered fellow diner waitress Mandy and ex John, her character stops making any sense at all.
CALENDAR GIRL is a deeply flawed little flick, one might say fatally flawed (pun definitely intended). First, with the bizarre genre melange of comedy-horror-romance, the filmmakers sets themselves a nigh impossible challenge. Second, Calendar Girl never strikes the right balance of artifice. The production is too low-budget to create the kind of hyper-stylized pulpy glory that it really needs to succeed, but always remains too self-aware to achieve an unknowing, so-bad-it’s-good kind of pleasure. And when the audience is prompted to question actual production decisions such as why shell out budget for cameo appearances from such Hollywood celebs as Gilbert Gottfried and Corbin Bernsen instead of springing for a more qualified lighting tech – well you know you’re in trouble.
While the start of CALENDAR GIRL was promising – bare breasts in 35 seconds, violent homicide in 58 seconds, a stunning opening sequence – the filmmakers never make good on those few minutes of promise. The movie resolves exactly as you expect it will, with Ari and Chris happy in the arms of one another and Phil awaiting lethal injection. But the road that gets you there is nonsensical and, worst of all, boring.