Starring Bridey Elliott and Clare McNulty. Rated 14A.
With its abandoned military installations battered by Hurricane Sandy in 2013, the beach at Fort Tilden remains a vaguely unrealizable dream for blond, anxious Allie (Clare McNulty) and dark-haired, aloof Harper (Bridey Elliott), two Brooklynites attempting to hook up with two dudes they met at a party the night before.
Past 25 and essentially jobless, these flighty roommates exude pure privilege despite their obvious lack of resources or prospects. Well, Harper’s faraway father (voiced by Brit-TV veteran Mark Wing-Davey) occasionally wires money from India, where his company is up to something or other. And Allie is supposed to be joining the Peace Corps soon, although she doesn’t appear to have even Googled “Liberia” yet.
What for others would be a half-day trip, to the southern tip of Queens, turns into an endlessly quixotic adventure for our bratty antiheroes, who would be too toxic to approach in real life but remain consistently amusing on-screen. That’s thanks to nicely modulated variations from a great cast of mostly unknowns, and to the surprisingly sturdy construction by the writing and directing team of Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, making their feature debut. (Bliss also edited Fort Tilden, and they have a brief joint cameo near the end.)
This witty, smoothly shot tale sometimes suggests that the dim-bulb leads from Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion have been magically transplanted to an out-of-town episode of Girls (complete with swearing and awkward nudity). But the mood keeps subtly changing, and some degree of self-awareness seeps into the general obnoxiousness of pals who dismiss other people for being boring like “the chapters in a book that are okay to skip”.
Initially, you may want to skip Allie and Harper, but they get steadily more interesting as their frazzled road trip inches them ever closer to the beach.