MRR Review: "Syrup"

Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures

MRR Review: "Syrup"

-- Rating: R (language, sexual references, and brief drug use)
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: May 1, 2013
Directed by: Aram Rappaport
Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance

Based on Max Barry's best-selling novel, "Syrup" tells the story of a young advertiser (Shiloh Fernandez) who is chasing money, fame, and his dream woman. The young advertiser dubs himself Scat because he knows that no one will ever be impressed by the name Michael. However, changing his name is only the first of his tricks.

Having just finished a degree in marketing, Scat invents an exciting, new product that he decides to pitch to the Coca-Cola company. Believing that his product will revolutionize the advertising world, he tries to convince the beautiful 6 (Amber Heard) that his idea is worthwhile. As the film unfolds, audiences get to enjoy a funny script and a plot full of surprises, and Scat gets the opportunity to learn about the insidious and deceptive world of advertising.

Scat's million-dollar idea is actually an energy drink that he names Fukk. Working on the idea that sex sells, Scat hopes to sell millions of this drink simply based on the product's name alone. The idea that one can sell a product just based on its name is one of the central ideas underpinning this movie, and for people who like to think about the advertising world, this may be one of the most compelling parts of the film. Unfortunately, Scat forgets to protect the product's name, and he loses it to his so-called friend Sneaky Pete (Kellan Lutz). Pete capitalizes on Scat's idea, and he makes Fukk into a wildly popular drink.

At this juncture, the film takes a slight turn that surprises some audiences and makes others groan at the film's predictability. To increase the popularity of Fukk, 6 is called onto the scene. She turns to Scat and asks him if he can create an advertising campaign that will really sell the drink.

Watching Scat create this campaign reminds audiences of how truly ridiculous the advertising world really is, and as the film progresses, Scat starts to realize this fact for himself. Although the film is primarily a comedy and full of snarky wit, it is in some ways a coming-of-age tale for young Scat. The new Fukk campaign that Scat invents is incredibly successful. However, it gets labeled as a failure when a young kid dies while mimicking the ad. Scat is forced to take the blame for the ad, and his early success is contrasted with his unbelievably new job as a rickshaw driver. Nonetheless, this may be one of the most unrealistic scenes in the film.

Luckily, Scat is rescued from this new life, and he is reunited with 6. Together, this couple, who has great rapport on screen, invents a new drink called Cok. In a plot development that is surprisingly funny in spite of its predictability, the Fukk scenario repeats itself, but this time after a death caused by mimicry, 6 is forced to take the fall.

Being an ideal film for anyone who has ever wanted to take a satirical look at the advertising world, "Syrup" is honest and biting while being a bit ridiculous and slightly absurd. The writing is not perfect, but some of the lines that the cast delivers will leave you rolling in the aisle, especially if you like witty sarcasm. However, in spite of the great dialogue and incredible one-liners, the film has a tendency to plod along, and it may be too slow for some movie fans.

Many reviewers thought that the film would be the sort of thing to pop up at Sundance. Instead, it was picked up by Magnolia Pictures and took a more conventional route. "Syrup" was released to theaters on June 7, but an earlier OnDemand release was made on May 2.

Under the direction of Aram Rappaport, the film is polished and sleek. Unfortunately, the film's trailer undersells the film, and that may be misleading to some potential viewers. The main problem with the trailer is that it fails to showcase any of the film's best dialogue. The acting is better than the film itself, and there are even a couple of cameos in the film that are worth mentioning. Although she only appears for a second, Kirstie Alley is in the film, as well as Brittany Snow from "Would You Rather" and Josh Pais, the voice of Raphael in the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie.

If you are looking for something that is relatively intelligent without being too deep, "Syrup" may be the film for you. It is perfect for people who prefer wit over plot. Overall, the film is easy to watch, and the story is entertaining.

Rating 2.5 out of 5

Tags: Syrup