In Search of a Midnight Kiss (15)

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The Independent Culture

Bad title, good movie. Shot in dreamy monochrome, Alex Holdridge's romantic comedy has the charm of Woody Allen's Manhattan and the jaundiced, won't-get-fooled-again wit of Terry Zwigoff.

The delightfully named Scoot McNairy plays Wilson, a slacker-writer miserably settled in Los Angeles and desperate for a date to make his New Year's Eve bearable. (He admits he would probably kill himself if only his bath-tub were clean.) Via an online dating service he meets Vivian (Sara Simmonds), a young actress whose baby-doll face belies a sharp tongue and a snarky attitude to men.

As they wander around the city in a haze of cigarette smoke and banter, the faint but stirring possibility arises that these two might be made for each other – if only her violent hick ex-boyfriend wouldn't keep ringing her cellphone...

Holdridge's script veers between foul-mouthed bawdiness and understated melancholy, an odd but winning combination to which his small cast have done full justice. Even the tiny cameo of Wilson's loud, party-going mother (Twink Caplan) is a gem. As for Los Angeles, few movies have paid a more romantic tribute to the lines and curves of its art-deco architecture.

Watch the In Search of a Midnight Kiss trailer