CAPSULE: LOSING CONTROL is an amiable, if uneven comedy, mixing real science, scientific method, and the modern dating scene with a little bit of sex (never shown). A Harvard science genius decides to use scientific method to determine if she really wants to marry her boyfriend of five years. Writer Valerie Weiss's script lets down director Valerie Weiss with plot inconsistencies and an uneven feel. The tone and pacing and even the characters are inconsistent, but still writer/director Valerie Weiss gives the film some wit, some humorous situations, and a refreshing dash of real science. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10
Since she was a little girl Samantha Bazarick (played by Miranda Kent) has wanted to be a scientist. Sam has the smarts and the attitude of a big talent. And she has a whole live plan written on paper as a flow chart. Now she is going for her Ph.D. as a biologist at Harvard. Once her current experiment succeeds she will get her degree and will marry Ben (Reid Scott), her boy friend of five years. But neither plan is working out. She is unable to replicate a major discovery she made years ago. That was a chemical that will destroy only male sperm and hence block male- chromosome linked diseases while sparing female sperm. She had the drug, dubbed Y-Kill, at one time, but is unable to reproduce it. Also, she is unsure that her boyfriend is her ideal mate. She wants to follow a scientific methodology to experiment with having one-night-stands with other men so she can determine with empirical proof whether or not Ben is really her best choice of husband.
For two acts the film is a romantic comedy and meets the aspiration to be agreeable. Somewhat jarringly in the third act it turns into a thriller with a villain and a plan more serious than just romantic tactics. The humor is scattershot with some humorous dialog, some of the humor is raunchy, and some action verges on slapstick. There are character inconsistencies. Samantha's mother early on is opposed to Samantha's interest in Ben. Without any explanation in the script she changes sides and wants the marriage. While Samantha seems likeable even if a little neurotic, the men she dates are all wacky and off the wall and unbelievable caricatures. I will not go into detail about how off the wall they really are. That gets into some of the raunchy aspects of the film. When Samantha goes dating, she wears a silly-looking hat flashing electric lights in the shape of a Jewish star that her mother convinced her to wear, but she seems oblivious as to how stupid the hat looks. Speaking of electricity, for a film that is showing respect for science, when Samantha needs a little bit of electricity toward the end of the film, she gets it from a source that make no sense scientifically. (If I am wrong about that, somebody correct me.) The film is mostly light, so it is somewhat surprising that it takes some unexpected jabs at the Chinese government and at Chinese in educational programs in the United States.
Director and writer Valerie Weiss actually is a biophysicist who herself was a Ph.D. candidate from Harvard. The publicity says that some of the plot was based on Weiss's own experiences. Further this is the first film ever to be shot on Harvard's campus, though with the exception of a few laboratory scenes and maybe one or two exteriors, the film takes little advantage of its shooting location.
Running the entire gamut from charming to (arguably) offensive, the screenplay is a really mixed bag. I found myself coming away from the film generally positive, but on consideration the script really needed a few more drafts. I applaud the use of real science in films but that and Miranda Kent's charm are still not enough to overcome problems in the writing. I rate LOSNG CONTROL overall a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1511425/
What others are saying: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/losing_control_2011/
Mark R. Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2012 Mark R. Leeper