CINEMA

KEEPING COMPANY (2022)

MPAA: NR
Release Date: 06/07/22 [VOD]

Genre: Comedy/Crime/Horror

Studio: 1091 Pictures

THE "IMDB" PREMISE:

"A fateful chain of events begins to unravel after two brash insurance salesmen go knocking on the wrong door and find themselves trapped inside of a serial killer's basement, putting their lives and their jobs on the line."

OUR MOVIE REVIEW:

There’s a knock at the front door. It opens to reveal two insurance salesmen standing there, bound and determined to add you to their rolodex of clients. One salesman is tenacious and slick. The other is intolerably optimistic and sweet. Sales is a tough business, but these two seem to enjoy the work. Life insurance, flood insurance, car insurance, you name it, they can help. They work for a company called Caste Insurance, where “your life is our life”.

 

Keeping Company is a film that centers on these two insurance agents, who beat the streets and go door to door to drum up business. Unfortunately, their work ethic gets the better of them, and they wind up crossing paths with a sociopath. 

 

One of the opening scenes establishes the “tough guy/nice guy” dynamic as they close a deal on a young couple. The wide-eyed and super happy agent Noah is played by Ahmed Bharoocha, his partner is Sonny played by co-writer Devin Das. Noah is the softening agent, allowing customers to put their guard down with his own earnest kindness, this leads Sonny to drop the fear hammer down and gain a commitment on an insurance package. 

 

The partnership between Noah and Sonny is effective, They have the highest sales record in the office, and Sonny even gets offered a promotion by his sanctimonious boss, Paula (Gillian VIgman). But more on her later. But Sonny is frustrated. He isn’t doing well enough to please his father, his boss threatens him to either produce results to net that promotion or else he will possibly be seeking employment elsewhere. And frankly, Noah is quite annoying. He lacks boundaries, constantly referring to Sonny as his best friend and will tell anyone who listens about his fiancee and their expecting child. 

 

The pair hit the streets hard to double their numbers, only to be shut down left and right. Sales are hard, remember? But their situation worsens when Sonny’s car is hit by a stranger. A stranger who has no insurance and who flees to his own home just down the street. Sonny and Noah chase after him and cut him a deal: buy their insurance and they won’t go to the cops.

 

The stranger is Lucas (Jacob Grodnick). He’s the aforementioned sociopath. But he leads the agents into his basement on a ruse so they can inspect the pipes, only to fasten them to chains. Lucas imprisons them and hides their car. He lives in his big house with his grandmother (Suzanne Savoy), an overbearing and controlling nightmare of a woman. 

 

It turns out that Noah and Sonny are victims of circumstance. Lucas and his grandmother lock up many people, but only those unsavory types who are draining society with drugs and crime. Noah and Sonny aren’t bad people, they just got unlucky. 

 

Keeping Company is the first feature from director and co-writer Josh Wallance. The balance in tone was really in question with this film. It was funny in moments, suspenseful in others. It just didn’t commit to one side long enough to make me care either way. There are some political and sociological underpinnings at work here. Especially between Jacob, his grandmother and the means to which they dispatch people they deem dangerous to society. But these motifs are never fully explored. The two leads did their best for the most part, and even Jacob and Noah shared some tender scenes under a blanket fort. 

 

There is an unapologetic bleakness in this film. Mostly because it has seemingly three antagonists. Sonny’s dad plays an intolerable parent, who has three too many melodramatic scenes than what is needed. Sonny and Noah’s boss, Angela, is so deviously written that her massive schemes at fraud tends to override any other machinations the plot wants of her. Then there is the grandmother, who is so boring with her motivation I couldn’t take her seriously. The real shame is that no one gets the comeuppance they really deserve. 

 

Jacob was set up to be the big baddie here. Despite the other plot lines, he was the most interesting to watch. I wanted to ride along with Jacob, see his process, watch him follow through. That would have been exciting, or at least, more interesting than what was delivered.

 

It was frustrating because I wanted to root for Noah and Sonny to escape, and to a lesser extent, Jacob, because he was also trapped in his own way. But the second half of the film drops all of the fun build-up between the two leads. Because of extraneous characters being easily drawn but still in the background, Sonny and Noah have little development after a strong first third of the story. What is left is a film that cannot figure out if it wants to scare me or make me laugh. In the end, it just made me sleepy.

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OUR VERDICT: