Friday, June 21, 2024

“CORA BORA”

THE STORY – Follows Cora, who feels that her relationship is not going well. She goes back home to win her girlfriend back, but she will realize that it’s much more than her love life that needs salvaging.

THE CAST – Megan Stalter, Jojo T. Gibbs, Ayden Mayeri, Margaret Cho, Manny Jacinto, Heather Elizabeth Morris & Chelsea Peretti

THE TEAM – Hannah Pearl Utt (Director) & Rhianon Jones (Writer)

THE RUNNING TIME – 92 Minutes


In 2021, Meg Stalter kicked off Pride Month with her iconic “Hi, gay!” video making fun of corporations and their fake solidarity for profits. Stalter’s video, where she struggles to read a script of support promoting her fictional butter shop and its gays-only deals, became the most quoted video of the season. For many, it was our introduction to the comedian. And when she made her first appearance in “Hacks” in the role of a nepo baby secretary around the same time, it was a welcomed surprise. She has quickly proven to be a hilarious, fresh voice in comedy. So, it’s about damn time she helms her own comedy movie.

Hannah Pearl Utt’s “Cora Bora” begins with an electric fervor as images and videos showcase a band in the middle of a performance. But suddenly, the film abruptly cuts to the titular Cora (Stalter) singing solo about how “dreams are stupid.” The film’s opening frames are a quick glimpse of Cora’s past life back home in Portland. Now, she’s on a solo tour as a struggling musician in Los Angeles. The only ties to her old life now are her parents and her long-distance girlfriend, Justine (Jojo T. Gibbs).

As you can expect, this long-distance romance is complicated. Cora’s suggestion that they make their relationship open finds her with ever-increasing feelings of jealousy and worry over Justine’s feelings for her. It quickly becomes apparent that things are on the rocks with every aspect of Cora’s life. She says she’s happy, but something about Stalter’s expression and line delivery suggests otherwise. She’s trying to make it in the music scene, but her career is in quotes. She’s stuck playing in cafes and empty venues. She says she and Justine are in love, but she can’t even get her on the phone. When she finally does get her on Facetime, there’s an awkward disconnect. It doesn’t help that there’s another girl’s bra hanging in the background of Justine’s bedroom.

Cora is struggling to find her place, floating around life in an unsure direction. The thought of Justine moving on, losing the person who understands her most, is the motivation Cora needs to get back home. Cora’s surprise visit back to Portland and the chaos she creates at every moment is screwball gold. There’s really never a moment that writer Rhianon Jones pens that isn’t entertaining, especially when you put Cora and Justine’s new girlfriend, Riley (Ayden Mayeri), in a room together. Those scenes, which I’m sure involved some masterful touches of improv by Stalter and the rest of the cast, become a messy delight; a dance of tension, jealousy, and awkwardness.

Cora gets herself in many amusing situations throughout the film, like ending up at the home of eccentric, free-loving hippies (featuring Margaret Cho) or getting a phone thrown in her face by Glee’s Heather Morris. In the meantime, she has a meet-cute with a guy named Tom (Manny Jacinto) on the plane, who she continues to run into throughout the course of the film. At first, this seems to be an annoyance to Cora, but it’s through opening up to this mystery man that we learn why she moved to LA in the first place. The film packs a surprising, emotional punch that reveals the pain and guilt that motivates Cora’s cynical lyricism.

“Cora Bora” embodies the tagline, “Life is not a solo act.” No matter how hard she tries, Cora will never succeed alone in LA. Her pushing people away is what really motivates her to travel home again. And sometimes, we all have to go home to rediscover what really matters. Stalter once came out with one of the best Pride videos. Now, she stars in one of the best films you can check out this Pride Month.

THE RECAP

THE GOOD - Meg Stalter, Meg Stalter, and Meg Stalter. No, actually, everyone involved is hilarious and perfect. The screwball script also takes some surprising, emotional turns. Also, bisexual representation!

THE BAD - It's one of those films where trying to find something "bad" about it becomes nit-picky, but I'll say that it doesn't really break the mold.

THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - None

THE FINAL SCORE - 8/10

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Sara Clements
Sara Clementshttps://nextbestpicture.com
Writes at Exclaim, Daily Dead, Bloody Disgusting, The Mary Sue & Digital Spy. GALECA Member.

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<b>THE GOOD - </b>Meg Stalter, Meg Stalter, and Meg Stalter. No, actually, everyone involved is hilarious and perfect. The screwball script also takes some surprising, emotional turns. Also, bisexual representation!<br><br> <b>THE BAD - </b>It's one of those films where trying to find something "bad" about it becomes nit-picky, but I'll say that it doesn't really break the mold.<br><br> <b>THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - </b>None<br><br> <b>THE FINAL SCORE - </b>8/10<br><br>"CORA BORA"