September 16, 2019

SCREEN | Sasheer Zamata Spends 'The Weekend'

"I constantly talk like I'm the supporting actress in a romantic comedy."
Sasheer Zamata Stella Meghie | The Weekend

Comedian and former SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata is so completely radiant in Canadian filmmaker Stella Meghie's latest indie romantic comedy aptly named as it unfolds over the titular The Weekend. Zamata stars as an underachieving but brashly acerbic L.A. stand-up comic with highly destructive tendencies and tons of relationship baggage.

Zamata's Zadie feels and acts like if the superfluous best friend character in studio comedy got her own low-key starring vehicle, acts as such, and even she says as much. She's whipsmart and insulting yet enthralling in her often mean-spirited dialogue. Meghie's sensibilities are unavoidably compared to Woody Allen's cinematic style here with its jazzy score, stand-up framing device, affluent characters, and wry humour—injected with a welcome contemporary African-American sheen.

Co-starring Tone Bell and DeWanda Wise as Zadie's ex turned best friend Bradford and his current girlfriend Margo, right away the premise of the odd threesome spending a weekend together at Zadie's mom's bed and breakfast—she's played pitch-perfectly by a no-nonsense Kym Whitley—is awkward and rife with conflict off the bat. Enter Y'lan Noel as a newly single, very attractive stranger with an immediate attraction to Zadie where sparks of jealousy and attraction fly complicating the now foursome's weekend activities.

The Weekend makes for a great, stripped-down comedic and dramatic showcase for its stars, writer/director, and their talents. Zamata proves she can carry a film and walk the line of being mean yet charming and hilarious while still being so entertaining playing what should easily come off as a totally off-putting protagonist. There are worse ways to spend the weekend.

The Weekend is available to stream on various digital platforms and through video on demand.

More | YVArcade / Globe and Mail / Indiewire / Moveable Fest / THR / Variety

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