Title: ‘The Argument’
Director: Robert Schwartzman (‘Dreamland,’ ‘The Unicorn’)
Starring: Emma Bell (‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Dallas’), Dan Fogler (‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘), Danny Pudi (‘Community’), Charlotte McKinny (‘Baywatch’), Maggie Q (‘The Divergent Series,’ ‘Nikita’), Tyler James Williams (‘Everybody Hates Chris,’ ‘Detroit’) and Cleopatra Coleman (‘In the Shadow of the Moon’)
Determinedly fighting to maintain the positivity in a long-lasting romantic relationship is an emotional process, especially during a time of seeming turmoil. It’s even more impassioned and meaningful when the partners try to reconcile their differences at home during those turbulent times. That process of diligently working to preserve their love is both sentimentally and comically showcased in the new film, ‘The Argument.’
The comedy, which is all the more relevant and relatable now during the current COVID-19 pandemic, features a seemingly happy couple who decides not to socialize outside of their apartment until they can ultimately find a way to save their relationship. ‘The Argument,’ which also shows how the two main characters must also fight back against external conflict during that process, was written by Zac Stanford, and directed by Robert Schwartzman. Gravitas Ventures is releasing the socially significant and engaging movie today in theaters and On Demand.
‘The Argument’ follows struggling Hollywood screenwriter, Jack (Dan Fogle), as he celebrates the stage debut of his aspiring actress girlfriend, Lisa (Emma Bell). He invites his literary agent Brett (Danny Pudi) and his entertainment lawyer wife, Sarah (Maggie Q), over to toast Lisa on the play’s closing night.
Jack secretly hopes to use the occasion to propose to Lisa. However, his intention is spoiled after her co-star, Paul (Tyler James Williams), who portrayed her lover in the play, also arrives at their apartment, much to the writer’s surprise and dismay. While Paul brought his new girlfriend, Trina (Cleopatra Coleman), to the party, Jack can’t help but think that Paul and Lisa’s real-life friendship is too intimate.
The party ends after Lisa makes a seemingly innocent remark about how Jack views himself as a writer, which lets to the film’s title argument. While their friends leave after she makes the comment, Jack invites their four guests to come back the next night and reenact every moment that led to what he perceived to be the hurtful observation from Lisa. Sarah, who has a photographic memory, resents being asked to recall exactly what was said throughout the entirety of the initial party.
The reenactment ultimately fails, but Jack and Lisa still manage to convince their annoyed friends to repeat the experiment again and again. Sarah eventually abandons the effort, which leads Jack to take things to the next level, in a meta way. Over the course of the party’s final reenactment, the friends ultimately realize what’s truly important to them, and how they should proceed with their romantic partners.
Schwartzman, who has worked as a screenwriter, director and actor in Hollywood since the late 1990s, has crafted another intriguing, relatable comedy that’s smartly motivated by the characters’ eccentricities. After helming such comedy-driven movies as 2018’s ‘The Unicorn’ and 2016’s ‘Dreamland,’ the filmmaker has once again proven with ‘The Argument’ that he can effortlessly channel people’s natural anxieties about their romantic relationships into his features’ realistically flawed, and at times insecure, characters.
Jack is the perfect example of a protagonist who clearly knows what he wants from life-to succeed as a screenwriter, and have a happy, loving relationship with Lisa-but still contends with an underlying apprehension about whether or not he’s worthy of achieving that bliss. Fogler perfectly embraces his character’s fear of not being good enough as a scribe or boyfriend to the more outgoing, confident Lisa, who’s enthrallingly and naturally portrayed by Bell. The actors’ potent chemistry together on screen compels ‘The Argument’s seemingly excessive repetition of the couple’s party, which ultimately proves their dedication to keeping their love strong.
With his long, diverse experience in Hollywood since he was a teenager, Schwartzman has crafted another captivating, relatable comedy that’s enthrallingly motivated by the protagonists’ distinct flaws and strengths. The filmmaker effortlessly channeled Jack and Lisa’s natural anxieties about their romantic relationship into ‘The Argument,’ which highlights the realistic conflicts they determinedly struggle to overcome. Fogler and Bell’s clear, powerful grasp of their respective characters’ concerns about how their love and connection can move forward helps make the comedy extremely relevant and essential to romantic culture in modern American society.