By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***** out of *****.
Director Yvonne Labarge and screenwriter (and star) Audrey Noone deliver an uproarious glimpse into a decidedly unconventional relationship with the phenomenal five and a half minute short, “What the Doctor Ordered”.
The comedic endeavor concerns Sandra (Noone in a tremendously realized and well-timed performance) and Thomas (Sean McPherson in a portrayal that evokes the simultaneous confusion and varied attempts to keep the romance going in whatever manner possible his character conveys beautifully). While speaking to a psychiatrist (Jeanne Lohnes in a wonderful acting turn) the pinnacles of anger and admiration between Sandra and Thomas, and the underlying notion that these motions might all be an elaborate game between the two, are addressed in a succession of flashbacks.
These moments are always amusing. They induce a perfectly conceived atmosphere for the continuously light-hearted gaze of the narrative.
Moreover, Labarge and Noone never loses sight of their humorous intentions. Reccurring gags about food fights, and how Sandra uses the source of the combat to win Thomas over, are especially effective. It also provides a smirk-inducing punctuation mark for the story to conclude on.
These components provide verified proof that the comic nature of this brief film endures unflinchingly stalwart throughout the affair. Still, there is an innocent, caring heart beneath the joviality and the mirth that makes the leads charismatic, endearing, relatable and authentic.
The original music by Zachary Krodel is perfectly fitting for the defiantly upbeat, sitcom-like nature of this chronicle. This is what strikes us instantly in the opening instances of this exertion and it wins us over immediately.
Krodel’s immediately mood-setting, optimistic score is heard over a dark screen as the title is written out in whipped cream, in a nod to another of the numerous successful jokes, in the opening moments. Such an achievement, heightened by the fantastic sound design by Jeremy Eisener and vibrant cinematography and lighting from Mike Sun, are just a few of the many triumphs this work generates.
There is also an incredible display of animation from Danielle Lauretano. This contribution captures the spirit of the plot splendidly. It also adds considerably to the on-screen visual appeal.
The composition also victoriously settles into a rapid-fire pace. This attribute appears so casual, and is simultaneously so enthralling throughout, that the piece never feels rushed.
Such is surely an envy deriving characteristic. It is also a compliment to how apparently graceful, striking and well-done the whole endeavor remains during its runtime.
The writing by Noone and direction by Labarge, who also provides the seamless editing on display here, is brisk, sharp and vivid. They make an incredible team. This factor illuminates the final result spectacularly.
“What the Doctor Ordered” is the product of a year- long undertaking. It is a labor of love where the time, effort and commitment by all of those involved is emitted gloriously. This makes what we are given here all the more delightful to behold and wondrous to laugh along with.
Noone and Labarge have utilized all the endlessly witty and high-caliber ingredients mentioned above. This, as well as the welcome contributions from an equally capable cast, come together to craft a truly special cinematic treat.