By Daniel Barnes
*Opens tomorrow at AMC Metreon 16 in San Francisco. Also premieres tomorrow on VOD services.
“We fucked up summer.”
The existential crises of the young, privileged, bored, white, female, and loathsome are blisteringly sent up in this freakin’ hilarious, stubbornly unsentimental New York City-set comedy.
Fort Tilden follows roommates/emotionally abusive besties Harper and Allie (Bridey Elliott and Clare McNulty, both ridiculously good), a two-woman wrecking crew in rompers, as they journey from the unfriendly confines of hipster paradise Williamsburg into the heart of “deep Brooklyn” in search of some late-summer snogging.
Their destination: the beach by the abandoned Fort Tilden, where they’ve made plans to meet a cute boy that they both like. However, the short day trip quickly becomes a Sisyphean task, with the helpless heroines getting distracted by discount clothes, brazen bike thieves, flavored macaroons, Molly dealers, undrinkable iced coffees, and “the perfect umbrella barrel.”
Harper and Allie are polar opposites – Harper is the “So go then.” dominant living off of her evil industrialist father, while Allie is the comparatively responsible yet equally shallow submissive who’s joining the Peace Corps so that she can talk about joining the Peace Corps. Ultimately, Harper and Allie are just two insecure sides of the same passive-aggressive coin.
These characters are uniformly egomaniacal and insincere and irresponsible and poison-tongued, yet strangely soulful and fully realized at the same time. Of course, that dynamic is certainly not designed for all comedic taste. But in the hands of writer-directors Sarah Violet-Bliss and Charles Rogers it makes for an insanely quotable film, almost rivaling next week’s Noah Baumbach joint Mistress America.