REVIEW: The Deja Vuers [2017]

Score: 6/10 | ★ ★ ½

Rating: NR | Runtime: 8 minutes | Release Date: 2016 (USA)
Studio: Stories in Motion
Director(s): Chris Esper
Writer(s): Jason K. Allen

“Perhaps you should keep your deja vus to yourself”

It’s nice to find a entertaining little gem every once in a while that doesn’t require you to think too far beyond its premise. This sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I don’t mean it as one. I think director Chris Esper would agree that his film The Deja Vuers is meant as an escapist lark with the sole purpose of putting smiles on its viewers’ faces. Screenwriter Jason K. Allen molds it as though a constantly evolving joke to ensure this result, the story snowballing from one potentially poignant moment of fate into subsequently outlandish coincidences taking us farther and farther away from reality. The fact there’s even a line of dialogue to bring things full circle and redefine key relationships is merely a cherry on top.

Our introduction is simple: Morgan (Christie Devine) is enjoying her lunch in the park as Chuck (Kris Salvi) approaches to explain he dreamt about her being there the night before. The encounter is either an example of the creepiest pick-up line you could use on a stranger or the start of something unbelievable. It’s actually both with the former providing a winced chuckle and the latter allowing for an interaction that spirals out of control. One minute we’re made to think destiny is in charge with Morgan possibly dreaming of him too and the next sees a confirmation of time travel. Wait. What? You heard me. Time travel. How else could her great-great-great-great grandfather Elias (Craig Capone) arrive to warn that she can totally do better than Chuck?

This joke evolves and expands, constantly forcing us to wonder if what we’re seeing is some elaborate prank or the cosmos aligning. Our skepticism dictates that we question everything and the laughter grows more intense as a result. We start shaking our heads at Allen and Esper for delivering this insane premise and applaud them for taking it so far out into left field. The short finds itself possessing a sketch comedy atmosphere, the high concept buffoonery providing its characters impossible options to find love and snow cones. It’s slight because it must be in order for us to enjoy it for its surface pleasures. These filmmakers are having fun with romance tropes while their actors embrace the absurdity of their circumstances. Let yourself bask in its frivolity.

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