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From Nomenclature Created On 25 February 2021
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When two universes collide and create exact duplicates of both people and inanimate objects on a single version of Earth, a hopeless romantic finds himself able to win the heart of his dream girl’s double.
If you think heady science fiction topics only belong in super-serious cerebral films, please allow me to introduce you to Jacob Motz’s Doubles—a comedy about two universes that are collapsing on one another. While the pitch could potentially be the logline for some Chris Nolan mind-bender, Motz is after a different type of cinematic experience: think Spike Jonze by way of Apatow.
In viewing Doubles, the audience is greeted by a bizarre science fiction world that is hilariously mundane. And, it’s that banality which makes for the film’s brilliant central joke. The protagonists (and, in effect, the audience) immediately buy into the movie’s surreal doppelgänger world. There are no high-brow intellectual discussions or diagrams made out of straws. Instead of grappling with the larger theoretical implications of this crazy world, the lead characters simply jump headfirst into the boring minutiae of how it will affect their daily lives. Now, they have two bosses…ugh!
Beyond being delightfully light on exposition, the film is making some salient points about human nature. Even when the world is being transformed before our eyes, we still, at the end of the day, want to make sure there is enough soda in the office refrigerator. The short is also touching upon identity—about seeing who we are and who we wish we could be (even if that someone is technically ourselves). Without venturing into spoiler territory for those who haven’t yet watched, the film functions as sort of a loop, both beginning and ending at the same point in time (albeit for different versions of the same person). In the immortal words of George Costanza, worlds be colliding.
Of course, none of this high-concept comedy would work if the performances weren’t so strong. The majority of Motz’s actors come from an improv background, and in turn, they feel effortlessly funny in front of the camera. Mike C. Nelson, who plays the lead—Bookers—steals the film. He’s the lovable schlub everyman—funny, cute, and just a wee bit pathetic. The fact that he isn’t super-famous right now is somewhat baffling to me (I mean, check out that ‘stache!). Nevertheless, I have a feeling that Nelson might break out huge very, very soon.
The film was shot over the course of three days with a budget of $18K.
Motz used the goodwill from his previous short, O.T.E, to convince a family friend to invest in Doubles’s production. As for what’s next, Motz is aiming to shoot another short in the spring as well as potentially move into some longer form entertainment. Provided he can keep the same effortless sense of tone and style, consider me excited. You can keep up to date with him on his website.

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