Yesterday, the trailer for Lena Dunham’s new film, Sharp Stick, debuted and for a second, I was excited because it seemed like maybe someone FINALLY cast Jon Bernthal in a romantic comedy. But no! While Sharp Stick apparently understands Jon Bernthal is A Very Appealing Man, this does not look like a rom-com. It looks more like a coming-of-age tale wrapped up in a sex comedy/drama, with Kristine Froseth playing a young woman who gets mixed up with a married man, and then the events that transpire after she is spurned. Dammit! We were SO close to having it all!
This is Dunham’s first feature since 2010’s Tiny Furniture, the work that put her on the map, and I am sure everyone will have an Opinion on Dunham, this movie, Dunham’s presentation of sex and love in this movie, how this movie relates to other things Dunham has said/written about sex and love, and whether or not anyone still cares what Dunham has to say about sex and love. But honestly, Sharp Stick looks…fine. It kind of reminds me of Marielle Heller’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which also features an inappropriate age-gap relationship. That movie is funny and heartbreaking and painful and hopeful, the best kind of sensitive, understanding coming-of-age film that also doesn’t shy from the unpleasant realities of teenage girl’s world. We’ll see if Dunham—who is not untalented, though she is not many people’s cup of tea—can stack up to Heller’s nuanced work in Diary, but I can already tell most of the coverage of this movie is going to revolve around Dunham casting herself as Jon Bernthal’s wife. People will insist on being predictable.
Anyway, Jon Bernthal is still not the star of a rom-com.
Fair warning: this is a NSFW red band trailer.