Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 12, 2019)
On the back cover of 2019’s The Weekend, we see the claim that it offers a "laugh-out-loud romantic comedy”. Challenge accepted!
Struggling stand-up comedian Zadie (Sasheer Zamata) used to date Bradford (Tone Bell). Though they split three years earlier, she remains single and unhappy with that situation.
Even so, Zadie and Bradford stay friends, and it seems clear that she hopes they’ll reunite. To celebrate his birthday, Zadie takes him to a B&B run by her mom Karen (Kym Whitley).
A substantial obstacle arises when Bradford invites his new girlfriend Margo (DeWanda Wise) on the trip. This seems like a disaster for Zadie, but matters change when she meets handsome Aubrey (Y'lan Noel), another guest at the inn.
If you watch the trailer for Weekend, you’ll see it gives off the vibe of a Woody Allen movies from a black female point of view. Does the promo lie?
Not really. While I wouldn’t call Weekend an Allen clone or rip-off, it definitely comes cut from the same cloth.
This doesn’t automatically seem like a bad thing, and despite the obvious similarities with Allen’s flicks, Weekend manages its own identity. Zadie comes with some Allen-esque neuroses, but she exhibits an abrasive attitude that gives her an edge his roles tend to lack.
Earlier I noted the disc package’s promotion of Weekend as “laugh-out-loud funny”, and that promises guffaws the movie doesn’t bring. While amusing, it tends to be more “light chuckle funny”, so don’t anticipate knee-slappers.
Still, given how often comedies fail to muster any amusement at all, I’ll take it. While low-key, Weekend does manage funny moments, and it progresses at a breezy pace.
Not exactly a plot-heavy affair, Weekend focuses almost entirely on its characters, and as expected, Zadie becomes the heavy focal point. This leaves the others ill-defined, but in Zamata’s hands, we feel happy to stick with the lead.
Best-known for a three-year stint on Saturday Night Live, Zamata brings comedic spark to Zadie without an apparent need to be liked. That’s a rare quality, as most actors would attempt to endear herself to the audience.
As rom-coms go, The Weekend manages to float above the pack. It comes with enough wit and spark to make it an enjoyable 86 minutes.