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Written by on March 12, 2011 

As the title may imply, Girls Walks into a Bar is largely a one-joke film, and not a very funny joke as it follows a group of strangers in several strange bar scenes in Los Angeles (ranging from cop bars, strip clubs, and a nudist members only ping-pong establishment). The film’s super low budget aesthetic which is largely shot in bar interiors doesn’t work in its favor – perhaps as a stage play it may and that medium would have helped the film’s awkward voice-overs.

The film opens with the entrance of Francine Driver (Carla Gugino) who meets with Nick (Zachary Quinto), a dentist who is hiring an assassin. Recording the conversation, she returns to find a con artist played by Aaron Tveit who steals Francine’s purse, which includes a recording of her conversation with Nick. The film inexplicably jumps to Emmanuelle Chriqui‘s Theresa who like Atom Egoyan’s Chloe has seduction down to a science that she can commitify amongst a client base she has a great distance for.

The rest of the ensemble includes gangsters, cops, bar tenders, strippers, and the unfortunate receptionist at the aforementioned nudist members only ping-pong club, who all seem to play their role. The MacGuffin of the film is the joke of its title, many good films have been made in the context of one crazy night scenario (Go is the first to come to mind). Writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez’s choices are curious: the static interactions within the interiors of bars are broken for awkward interior monologues. Teresa’s monologue about her sleazy customers is matched with Josh Harnett’s Sam Salazar, a nice guy who works with Francine. These voice-overs aren’t particularly insightful, interesting or very funny which is the flaw of the film: it’s like having a drunken conversation with a random stranger – some of what they may say is funny or interesting, some of it is sad and pathetic. But hey, that sounds like the bar scene.

The film was simultaneously released on YouTube the same day as its South by Southwest opening screening and that explains much of the aesthetic: it’s easily designed to be copped up into mini-Webisodes (every 10 minutes or so we get a fade to black with B-roll of LA to introduce our next segment). The cinema is probably not the place to experience Girl Walks into a Bar – at the gym, on your iPhone as passive entertainment sounds about right. Consuming it in the course of a few days as a light snack is less harmful than making a meal of it.

Girl Walks  Into a Bar is now available to stream on YouTube.

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