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Twelve Thirty is the story of one messed up household. Mel, 19 (Portia Reiners), Maura, 22 (Mamie Gummer), and their mother Vivien (Karen Young) live together in a modest single family home and their lives are intertwined with the strapping young lad that is Jeff, 22 (Jonathan Groff). Jeff has had the hots for Mel since high school and has only recently gotten the nerve to talk to her. What follows is some very drawn out exposition about how much he liked her and that he never had the guts to say anything until now. What follows is an eternity of back and forth exposition between the two until he finally seals the deal with Mel. The joke is on Jeff, because she seals the deal with him and moves on.
Maura is Mel's older, attractive, but severely awkward sister who Jeff hooks up with during a party they attend. Again, there's a massive conversation scene before sealing the deal, only this deal may not have been on good terms. Jeff moves on, but he's actually hurt by his actions, but he'll get over it and be back at it again. The story then shifts to Vivien and we see that Jeff is her "boy-toy" of sorts. She uses him for sex all the while retaining control, but letting on that she has deep issues about her family and her ex-husband in particular. Jeff is a pleasant distraction as long as he's not sleeping with her daughters. Too late.
Twelve Thirty is one screwed up movie. It could have been so much better if it wasn't so pretentious and self-aware about its motives. We have this scumbag guy who feigns that he's no good with women, that he's awkward, socially stunted, but if you look at this guy, he's actually good looking, smart, and a great bullshitter. I guess it's the creepiness vibe that emanates form him. Strike that - it's neediness. All things are fine when he's in control, but it falls apart when he loses control. In his first interaction with Mel it looks like he's in control, but it's all Mel. During his interaction with Maura, he's in control, and during his interaction with Vivien it's a draw.
He doesn't just act needy, but when he does something bad, he feels bad, but it doesn't stop him from continuing to do these bad things to people. He likes to fuck with people, but gets hurt when they fuck with him back, yet he can't control himself and starts it up again. The family unit is another thing that we get some insight as to why the family is screwed up. The character that comes along and shakes everything up is Vivien's ex-husband and the girls estranged, but not so estranged father, Martin (Reed Birney) who came out as gay to his family, but still has sex on occasion with Vivien who is the ONLY woman that still turns him on. You can see that the dysfunction goes very deep and that that's why Mel is sexually un-repressed while Maura is still a virgin, and Vivien is indifferent. It's easy for someone like Jeff to come in there and snag himself a "trifecta."
There are no good people in this movie and as I watched I just kept thinking to myself about why I should bother caring about these people? Jeff is a scumbag, but this family is also messed up. They kind of deserve each other, but the way it's presented it's done so in a not-so-crass way. It tries to humanize bad behavior, but succeeds into making it too long-winded. The film runs at 2 hours, but could have been even better at 90 minutes, in my opinion. The characters and their ramblings are not that interesting for the film to run that long.
Twelve Thirty is presented in 480p (upscaled to1080p), 1.78:1 widescreen. The image is not particularly pretty overall and is hindered overall by a technical anomaly that was overlooked during authoring of the DVD. At the very bottom of the image, there's a horizontal line that crosses the print and stays there for the entire film. I had initially noticed it during the trailers for the film, but in that case, the line was green and I figured it would go away once the film started. It did not, but went from green to black. If you have a large display then you will definitely notice it at the bottom. Other than that, the image is a bit grainy, but flesh tones are generally natural looking as we do get to see fully naked men and women "hanging ten," if you will. Blacks are crushed, and the image does suffer from a lot of edge enhancement. It's not the best DVD out there that's for sure. Contrast levels are fine, banding is kept in check, but aliasing and haloing are present. It is what is.
Twelve Thirty is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Twelve Thirty is a dialogue driven film, so you will not have instances of explosions, martial arts, or special effects coming at you from every speaker. It's a talkie. Dialogue is comes through in a every realistic fashion via the center channel, and the rest of the speaker channels handle atmosphere and tone levels without any problems. If anything, I would say that the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is the best thing this DVD has to offer.
Twelve Thirty comes equipped with several deleted scenes. There's nothing remarkable here.
- Deleted Scenes
Twelve Thirty is a bit too verbose for what it's trying to convey. Writer-Director Jeff Lipsky is no Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and for that matter, Diablo Cody (with regards to Young Adult). He makes his characters way too reactionary and self-aware for their own good. There's really no surprise when someone goes off on someone else, because whoever got chewed up will have a clever comeback and emerge unscathed. It's not actually annoying, but does come off a bit on the pretentious side. Most will probably just be amazed at the sex scenes as they do go all out a bit - and the full frontal female/male nudity will attract some to this project. It was good enough to watch once, but don't think I'll revisit the world of Twelve Thirty anytime soon.