“Prove it. I need a dozen manila folders. Now! Go!”
Borrowing from many office-based romantic comedies that came before it, Sean Meehan‘s short Over Coffee adds a bit of fun, quick paced action to the mix. Andrew (Erik Potempa) has been pining over Carla (Jocelyn DeBoer) for a while now, refusing to do more than awkwardly stand by her desk until the opportunity to prove his affection presents itself. Confronted with the choice to either go back to work and let her reap the consequences of her forgetful mind or rise to the occasion to become her gofer knight in venti coffee armor, he rolls the dice if for nothing else than to see her smile upon return.
And although the brief fifteen-minute runtime doesn’t afford too much time for more than this simple conceit, the menial task of paying a barista for Carla’s bully of a boss Hamilton Rice’s (Timothy J. Cox) caffeine fix must hit a couple snags to make it all worthwhile. So, add in a bitchy businesswoman devoid of human decency (Mallory Portnoy‘s Laura) and you’ve got yourself a race against the clock to retrieve a stolen coffee in the hopes Andrew’s dream girl still has her job when he gets back. It’s a mundane act for the cubicle-saddled sect that sprawls into an adventure to save a damsel in distress from the evil miser ready to crush all their hopes and dreams.
Meehan has injected some nice comedic elements with Andrew’s sex-obsessed, work friend David (Michael Oberholtzer) and Hamilton’s myriad hoops for Carla to jump through in order to make her life miserable and satisfy his power trip. They are a welcome distraction to counter our central would-be couple’s more straight-laced work habits and help us to forgive the plots many contrivances. For everything to fall into place we need Carla to be the worst secretary in the world—forgetting every task she was meant to accomplish that day—as well as the coffee shop’s cashier to be completely oblivious to a woman stealing Andrew’s order. But if you’re going to really fault a cute laugh of a film for its clumsy devices, you probably have no business taking the time to watch anyway.
Oberholtzer is one more wisecracking chauvinist films of this ilk provide, broadly playing his role as Portnoy does her self-important, villainous foe. Potempa is likeable as our hero, his stoicism adding to the plausibility of his shyness and desire to dote despite having work to do himself; DeBoer gorgeously fills the role of the ideal catch like she did in the indie film Stuck Like Chuck for which there are many similarities in tone and scope here; and Cox is having a ton of fun playing up his air of importance until a cute revelation turns his imposing figure on its head. A lot of the fun occurs when Andrew exits his cautionary bubble of etiquette to complete his task and the reward of a sweet exchange at its close proves nice guys can finish first.
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