A thinking person’s comedy by the writer/director team of Charlotte Barrett and Sean Fallon, VIRGIN ALEXANDER stars veteran stage performer Rick Faugno as the titular character Alexander, a shy scrap hauler who, along with his brother, takes on the local pimp Bim (Bronson Pinchot) to raise enough money to keep the bank from taking their house. Ruby (Paige Howard) is the prostitute who used to work for Bim that catches Alexander’s eye and, with the assistance of her courtesan friends, helps him turn his house into a brothel.
The real highlight of this film comes from the writing. As difficult as it is to write a tight feature film with just one main character, VIRGIN ALEXANDER’S ensemble cast each gets their moment in the sun and they all feel a part of the world the writer’s created. The Altman-esque dialogue has a sharp wit with often deeper meaning while still managing to be entertaining to general audiences. One scene in particular, which can be seen as being too “on the nose”, is driven by one of the female characters delivering her extensive monologue topless. Some might see a scene like that as exploitative, or lazy, but really it’s a great way to wake up anyone in the audience who may not get the point of the film until that moment.
This ensemble cast is exceptional. Bronson Pinchot plays a character who is not the least bit likable, but serves as an effective comedic foil throughout the movie, and is a good counterpoint to Alexander’s innocent and solemn character. Rick Faugno really has an opportunity to showcase his many talents in this film from singing, to playing piano, to dancing (be sure to stay for the end credit sequence). Paige Howard’s character Ruby has the edginess that is needed for her role but it is tempered with a warmness that really comes through in her scenes with Alexander. Ruby’s co-workers in the sex trade Lo (Elizabeth Masucci) and Brooke (Mika Boorem) are more than just window dressing and really have an effect on the other characters. It would be easy for those roles to be overlooked and understated in any other film, but Fallon and Barrett’s writing allows these characters to blossom and become more than just sidekicks or comic relief.
The visuals in VIRGIN ALEXANDER are competent with nothing really special in terms of camerawork. Nothing special is really needed in a film like this though. It also feels like a lot of the colors in the film are muted, but that could be done purposely by the directors as well to give a certain feeling to the overall piece. The production value of the locations and sets sometimes feels like the small town that these characters live in might be a little too small at times. Obviously something like this would be due to the budget constraints of an independent production and not necessarily due to the lack of vision of the directors.
The sound is mixed well with original music provided by Simon Charles Katz. There are no obvious ADR issues or anything else that typically plagues an indie production. The sound doesn’t have that “layered” feeling and was obviously mixed by someone who knew what they were doing. In regards to the editing in general, this film works great the way it is edited around the dialogue. Pauses and punches are given extra weight with how they are cut together by Fallon and Barrett, who also edited this film.
One point as we come to the end of this review that should be made is that, much like this review, no big deal is really made that Alexander is a virgin. It doesn’t define him or the movie, it is just a simple fact of who he is. It doesn’t change the fact that he is a caring, shy person. It also doesn’t make him any less an effective protagonist. Like many other comedies that rely on a character’s defining trait to carry a film along, it’s worth mentioning that Alexander’s virginity isn’t the reason to see this movie, it just happens to be a part of his character. We follow this virgin, Alexander throughout the film because of who he is, not what he is.Virgin Alexander,