This is very cleverly put together, but relatively hollow entertainment. As a distraction with a bit of romance (if you squint real hard), it isn’t a bad bit of time spent. The issue isn’t the clever plot nor the relatively good music track (in support of the plot) but rather the lack of any electricity between the characters. It is all very staid and presentational. You are asked to believe because the lines and situation tell you so, rather than any real amount of emoting or sense of chemistry on the screen.
Despite the puppeteer-ing, Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) gets to have a spine in this. She is, though at a clear crossroads, strong in her convictions and actions. But what she sees in Ken Dunken’s character, other than as an exotic distraction, is mystifying. And Dunken, likewise, never really goes through the changes he needs to in order to sell the hoped for transformation. Two smaller roles really don’t fare much better. Reg E. Cathey (Fantastic Four) and the equally prolific, but often ignored Marlene Forte have a great little side-story, but it never really sizzles. Forte is significantly more entertaining, though her choices aren’t exactly credible. Though it should be noted that Laith Nakli (happythankyoumoreplease) provides some wonderful humor throughout.
All-in-all, you can find a better way to fill 90 minutes if you really want a romance to share. Given director Schaefer and his co-writer Silber’s bona fides, I am surprised it isn’t something I could recommend, but you don’t have to run from it either.