James Christopher's latest is a romantic comedy full of funny moments, solid one-liners and genuine heart. In an attempt to win the object of his affection over, Nick must go through his lineup of previous women and get a grasp on the concept of relationships and love.
"Peter Pan with a hard-on," is an applicable term for Nick, who's a terminal ladies' man. One-night stands, short relationships and general douchebaggery is how Nick makes his way through life, but like all good things, it's gotta' come to a close at some point, right? Nick's essentially the perfect asshole. He's Glen Gulia from The Wedding Singer meets Sack Lodge from Wedding Crashers. He's the reason nice guys can't find the nice girls, because they're too busy being used and abused by dudes like Nick.
Christian Swacker is Nick. Having played some smaller parts in previous Twitchy Dolphin productions, Swacker oozes that horrible 80's sleaze that dudes like James Spader and Andrew McCarthy made legendary. Swacker's performance is solid, as he's got a ton to work with. Funny, emotional and smart, Nick's transformation feels honest and accurate.
Harper Graham plays Michelle, the sharp-tongued and clever object of Nick's affection, seemingly immune to Nick's charms. Michelle is Nick's co-worker at a law firm and the two have genuine chemistry, though her concerns of not wanting to be another notch on his belt are valid after learning more about Nick's tomcatting ways.
Nick's usual nonsense and "game" is put to the test throughout the film. Having to get three letters of reference in order to have "access" to the boss' daughter cuts through his usual ways. Living in an age of hookup culture and sleeping around, it's interesting to see a film that confronts the notion head-on and plays with concepts of masculinity, flirting and "love."
I love a romantic comedy that's not afraid to dive head-first into a guy's mind. It's accurate, it's an interesting, un-PC take on confronting one's past while also looking to the future. Nick's confrontations with his former flames are very different, somewhat funny, but also incredibly honest. As expected, Nick runs into a great deal of difficulty in confronting his ex's, but it's the emotional implications of Nick's damage that's hard to confront.
Overall, 3 References is a clever concept with some great dialogue and solid acting all around. I wouldn't say 3 References is my favorite James Christopher film (that's still Goin' Guerilla or Abram's Hand), but 3 References is an interesting exploration of the consequences of being a tomcatting schmuck.