REVIEW: Greg’s Guardian Angel [2013]

Score: 5/10 | ★ ★

Rating: NR | Runtime: 11 minutes | Release Date: 2013 (USA)
Studio: All Things Random / Phalanx Video Productions
Director(s): Dan Kowalski
Writer(s): Dan Conrad

“Get the Cookies! Cookies!”

It wears its comedy on its sleeve with an intentionally broad performance from its titular savior along a pretty obvious plot trajectory, but Greg’s Guardian Angel finds a way to entertain nonetheless. Whether it’s the office setting or the relatable gags embellished for effect sprinkled throughout Greg’s (Greg Vorob) unremarkable life’s transformation into one of unfathomable success, we find him a likeable character caught in what’s apparently an enviable situation. However, despite a couple initial good calls on his Angel’s (Elmer J. Santos) behalf, the invincibility provided by an unsolicited correcting of fate fades into a cynic’s version of just how annoyingly sanctimonious a “harbinger of good” like this would be in the real world.

Screenwriter Dan Conrad springboards from this idea by having his angel pop up at inopportune moments to give advice that—while useful—will cause much more pain than happiness. Director Dan Kowalski in turn allows for Santos to play around with Fairy Godfather-esque clichés from a faux God-like voice to jazz hand disappearances to a knowing absurdity barely hiding the fact he probably broke into laughter right after hearing the word “cut”. But he has to be obnoxious to grab an unsuspecting victim’s attention, wearing an angel white robe and goofy smile to disarm you when any sane person would either inflict physical abuse in fear or ignore everything until consulting with a doctor. No one in the 21st century is going to think, “Now I can go to the Prince’s ball.”

Timothy J. Cox comes in as the boss with an affable façade masking a bitingly cutthroat business acumen he’s wont to play while Conrad enters as a friendly co-worker to be used as comic relief during the film’s first endearingly funny bit made humorous because of its use of an insufferably mundane object as a means for both accolade and vitriol. Everything is over-the-top in this way to the point romantic interest Monica (Caitlin Winter) robotically asks Greg out simply because he’s about to eat cookies. And I mean no disrespect to Winter—whose facial expressions on the date are fantastic—she’s simply playing the moment as though her character literally has no other choice but to say those words because the angel decreed it so.

Any longer than 11-minutes and the film probably would wear out its welcome rather quickly, but as it stands now Conrad and Kowalski have created something worth a looksee. They’re in on the joke, don’t try to make the project into something its not, and genuinely appear to have let their cast have some creative fun. Vorob is the consummate straight man right until the final frame’s visual punchline and Santos shows he has no problem ratcheting up the abrasive crazy/innocently “duh” demeanor to drive everyone insane. A comedic short meant to conjure easy laughs and break-up your day, it will at least earn a smirk if not a couple laughs for your trouble.

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