Fits and Starts screens on Friday at 8 p.m. at UNCSA Babcock, April 2 at 7 p.m. at UNCSA Gold and April 5 at 4 p.m. at Aperture 1. Director Laura Terruso will attend the first two screenings.
What’s it like to be married to someone in the same industry, especially when they’re more successful than you are? This question — and others familiar to creative types — is the film’s crucible. Wyatt Cenac (of “the Daily Show” fame) plays David, a socially awkward struggling writer whose wife’s success dwarfs his own, but Fits and Starts avoids feeling like a retread.
This endearing and entertaining situational comedy continues to devolve as the two writers head to a reading at a publisher’s Connecticut home. The soiree is filled with the most annoying kinds of white people, including one esoteric mook played by North Carolina’s own Onur Tukel. When a character played by Alex Karpovsky — best known as Ray from “Girls” — shows up, it’s all too fitting.
The acting isn’t entirely believable, but that’s okay because Fits and Starts plays like more of a parody of the absurdity of notions of success or “high culture,” acting as a mirror rather than a literal representation. Some viewers will cringe at how familiar moments seem, like when David is told that racism is a little too heavy a theme for his book. Advice seems to hammer David like an unrelenting woodpecker.
“There’s not enough room in a relationship for two artists,” an obnoxiously self-indulgent publisher tells David shortly before trying to seduce him. “One always suffers.”
As the situation continues to devolve and frustration mounts for David, viewers will find themselves wondering if the aggressively flirtatious publicist is right.