Film Review: The Boy Downstairs

DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Sophie Brooks | DISTRIBUTOR: FilmRise  CAST: Zosia Mamet, Matthew Shear, Deirdre O’Connell, Diana Irvine, Sarah Ramos  RELEASE DATE: Feb. 16th 2018 (New York City); Feb, 23 (Los Angeles) SPECS: PG-13 | 91 min. | Romantic comedy/drama

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): 

Much like the gentrified streets of contemporary Brooklyn, Sophie Brooks’ The Boy Downstairs is a film that lacks both substance and memorability, only ever going skin-deep in terms of narrative and character. Sure, it’s a competently made film, written and directed by someone who knows the basics of how to write and direct movies, but that’s really all I can say about the film: that it’s fine, and not very catchy as the newest entry in the ever-growing Brooklyn rom-com genre.

Zosia Mamet and Matthew Shear in The Boy Downstairs.

The Boy Downstairs  focuses on a young writer named Diana (Zosia Mamet of Girls fame), a typical white, upper-class twenty-something whose problems are all created by her own neuroses and uncertainty. These personal issues are exacerbated when she accidentally moves into the same Brooklyn brownstone apartment as her ex-boyfriend, Ben (Matthew Shear), who is the titular “boy downstairs.” It’s obvious that both Diana and Ben are not completely over each other, despite the fact that it’s been years since they’ve seen one another. The film seeks to explore this relationship, but the script lacks the charm to make it all click. And while there’s potential in the characters, they don’t really have the chemistry to inspire us to care about them.

An acceptable debut feature, yes, coming from a writer/director who appears to be at home in the film’s Brooklyn environs, but The Boy Downstairs doesn’t bring much more to the party then that comfort level.

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