Writer and director Hannah Marks continue to impress with her brand of humor with her new film Mark, Mary & Some Other People (2021). Mark (Ben Rosenfield) runs into Mary (Hayley Law) – who he remembers from college – at a convenience store, where he is debating what chips to buy while she is buying a pregnancy test. After an awkward reunion, the two find themselves falling in love and tying the knot. It’s only after this act that Mary proposes the idea of an open marriage that initially sends Mark reeling.
Law and Rosenfield have such great chemistry in this film. Law has impressed me in both The New Romantic (2018) and Spontaneous (2020), but this was the first time I’ve seen her in a lead role. She absolutely can carry a movie, and I hope this isn’t the last time we will see her with the opportunity. She has a natural quality about her that really helps land the jokes she delivers.
Rosenfield’s look in this film immediately made me think that Anton Yelchin would have been perfect in this role if he were still with us. That put Rosenfield at a bit of a disadvantage as I kept wondering how Yelchin would have delivered certain lines. However, by the film’s conclusion, I was sold on Rosenfield as the leading man – and he absolutely pulled his weight in his role. The two leads worked perfectly together to make a funny and heartfelt duo that you were constantly rooting for (and also frustrated by).
The comedy isn’t just from the two leads though…there are several solid supporting performances from Odessa A’zion and Sofia Bryant, who play Mary’s bandmates and friends. Then there’s Matt Shively and Nik Dodani, who plays Mark’s best friends. The scenes with these actors are all very entertaining, and the group’s collective vibe works to sell the world they exist in. Add in some great cameo performances, and the scenes really click as you go through the story.
One area that may make people shy away from the film is the premise. It could be a bad softcore adult movie they use to run on the premium channels late at night, but it’s actually pretty tame. That’s not to say there aren’t some raunchy discussions, but there is no nudity and the sex scenes are pretty mild overall. Marks isn’t looking to exploit her cast, but rather tell a complex story that has real humor and real emotional impact.
With that said, Mark, Mary & Some Other People won’t work for everyone. It did, however, work for me. I enjoyed this film, and the cast especially. While there are levels of predictability, the execution from all involved is very strong. Mark, Mary & Some Other People earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.