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The Condo Review

The Condo is a 2017 comedy about four married friends who buy a condo to share as a bachelor pad, a place to bring their mistresses, until the wives and girlfriends bust the cheating spouses.

Way back in 1960, Billy Wilder directed a film called The Apartment, about a hapless insurance salesman looking for a way up the corporate ladder, finding it when four company managers use his Upper West Side apartment as a love den for their extramarital affairs. The film is considered a classic, winning 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It’s a very funny and well-acted movie with Jack Lemmon doing some of this best work. Now, 57 years later, and after several movies have taken to ‘homaging’ that story, comes James Cullen Bressack‘s The Condo, a film that may have its roots somewhere very low in Wilder’s movie, but not much else. It’s a little unfair to compare of course, as this movie does have its moments, however, it does what it intends and nothing more.

The premise is simple. Duke (Baron Jay) is a real estate agent who is having a hard time selling a luxury mansion, condo, something (the film itself can’t make up its mind) because the previous owner was murdered in the living room, which is scaring off potential buyers. Meanwhile, his buddies, including stand-up comedian Ron D. (Trae Ireland), unhappily married Tom (Michael Joseph), and gay dance instructor Juan (Chris Sapone), are all bummed because they have no place to take their mistresses, to whom they’ve all been lying about being single. The answer is the condo, and the men all decide to pitch in and lease the place and use it as a love shack. It all works out until they miscommunicate and end up all booking the place on the same night, which spurs a new idea, but then again, the best laid plans …

Filmed in 2015 and releasing now, The Condo is ostensibly a comedy, a low-budget movie written by Bill Dumas and Bill Morroni, full of clichés that keep this a very familiar story. While it portends to be raunchy and sexy, it is instead, family-friendly, with implied sex, no profanity, no nudity, and lots of tame innuendo, which ultimately keeps this from being what it might have been. More so, it feels about twenty years too late, outdated, like a watered down episode of Zalman King‘s Red Shoe Diaries. Bressack tries to give it some style, skipping around the timeline and splashing brashy name cards à la Quentin Tarantino, but it doesn’t do much to give this any identity.

This all might seem a little harsh, and perhaps it is, as certainly, with the minimal  budget, one maybe can’t expect too much. Still, even accepting the plot, the film doesn’t have the sharpness such a story demands. It’s got a large, diverse cast, and most work hard to deliver, but the script never cuts like it should, leaving everything underdeveloped. It’s not like it doesn’t try though. From a gay man wanting to experiment, to Muslim fanatics wanting to literally stone someone, to two inept cops, to loads of stereotyped women in various states of undress, it’s a collection of easy setups that all culminates in a forecasted showdown. It’s very much like a TV sitcom.

I’m a fan of many low budget films, and support indie filmmaking. I’ve enjoyed some of Bressack’s work, yet The Condo comes up short, a good idea that lacks the momentum and laughs the premise promises. Grown men with fratboy mentality is nothing new in movies and will surely continue to be so, however, it’s weakened if there are no real risks and more importantly, greater consequences. Some will surely find something to like here, but ultimately, this is just too tame.

The Condo Review

Movie description: The Condo is a 2017 comedy about four married friends who buy a condo to share as a bachelor pad, a place to bring their mistresses, until the wives and girlfriends bust the cheating spouses.

Director(s): James Cullen Bressack

Actor(s): Baron Jay, Trae Ireland, Michael Joseph

Genre: Comedy

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