Hot Air (2016) Review

Winner of the Comedy Vanguard Jury Award at the Austin Film Festival 2016, “Hot Air” is a quirky and gentle romantic comedy which starts with…ahem…a bang.

‘Major’ (Jere Burns) is an incorrigible conman who fakes his own death under his real name to get the authorities off his tracks only to discover he has a son when Lesley (Matthew Gray Gubler) turns up at the funeral. Initially horrified, then intrigued, Major is disappointed to discover his son is something of a wuss and decides to hang around and help his son out, like some kind of grifting guardian angel. But Major finds it harder to resist temptation than he thought.

There’s a lot of fun in watching Major getting to know his estranged son while trying to maintain a certain image. For someone being pursued by the FBI, there’s something endearing about Major’s ineptness once he’s thrown off his game by the decency and honesty of his son.

Determined to help his sandal-wearing boy stop being pushed around by the workmen on his building site and escape from being friend zoned by the love of his life, the engaged Summer (Schuyler Fisk), both characters start to rub off on each other in unexpected ways.

Jere Burns is tremendous as the callous grafter with the niggling sense of conscience, manifesting in the Clarence-like pilot (Gary Cole) who appears to Major when he needs some nudges. There’s an instant chemistry between him and Matthew Gray Gubler’s Lesley whose sincerity and homespun nobility spark and spar in a witty and well-crafted script from writers Jeremy M Goldstein and Derek Sieg, who also directs.

Managing to balance a love triangle, burgeoning unlikely friendships, a redemption arc and an FBI investigation without feeling overstuffed or rushed, “Hot Air” is a charming, funny and big-hearted independent romantic comedy, well worth a watch. It’s available to rent from the movie’s website and you can watch the trailer below.


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