The Climb (2019)

MICHAEL ANGELO COVINO

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA, 2019. , , , . Screenplay by Michael Angelo Covino, . Cinematography by . Produced by Michael Angelo Covino, , Kyle Marvin. Music by , . Production Design by , . Costume Design by . Film Editing by . National Board of Review Awards 2020. Toronto International Film Festival 2019.

A series of comedic situations make up our understanding of a flawed but ultimately loyal relationship between two male friends in this hilarious celebration of Bro Code.  Mike (Michael Angelo Covino, who directs) and Kyle (, who co-wrote the screenplay with Covino) are in France for Kyle’s wedding to Ava (), and while cycling up a mountain in the days leading up to the ceremony, Mike reveals to Kyle that he and Ava have actually carried on a physical affair while she and Kyle were together.  Years later they catch up when Kyle’s family invites Mike to Thanksgiving, he’s depressed and lonely and Kyle is about to marry Marissa () whom none of his family like (his mother played in a wonderful supporting performance by ).  This leads to a series of bent confrontations between the two of them in various settings, from Kyle’s ice-fishing bachelor party, Mike’s joining the couple on their Christmas ski trip and, finally, the shenanigans that occur at Kyle and Marissa’s wedding.  Male friendship is the celebratory center around which the plot revolves, the women don’t get to be a part of the treehouse fun and it’s possible that Covino and Marvin believe they’re doing this in the name of pointing out their characters’ failures at the kind of masculinity they aspire to, but as neither character ever gets introspective in any meaningful way, the emphasis is purely on the shallow comedic possibilities of each situation instead.  As comedic situations go, though, there are few that are funnier than the deadpan manner in which these two are constantly crashing into each other (physically and metaphorically), with Kyle constantly thinking he’s finally seen the last of Mike’s worst behaviour and then getting creampied by him yet again.  These men aren’t forgivable but they are watchable and the subtle, steady manner in which the film smoothly moves from one disaster to the next is admirable and entertaining.

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