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Rubbing wrong

I will try to write this entire review of Rub without resorting to using its title as a

verb from a popular cliche. First of all, I appreciate all the effort that goes into raising money, organizing production, filming a movie and then finding a distributor. Writer-director Christopher Fox managed all that. Plus, he demonstrates a good eye for setting up shots and finding non-famous actors who fit their parts and perform well. Low budget production decisions with existing locations around upstate New York suit the film. But then comes the story, revolving around a geeky guy named Neal whose neediness to fit in and find a girl makes his co-workers uncomfortable and happy to bully him. Unappealingly scruffy and the antithesis of huggable, Neal starts out as bad company and pretty much stays that way. He takes steps towards positive evolution briefly under guidance from Perla, a quote “masseuse,” the kind with a heart of gold which lets Jennifer Figuero give the movie its only sense of warmth. In contrast, Micah Spayer as Neal gets no break in the script, despite a bit of a makeover that improves his straggly hair and baggie wardrobe. Neal cries out “I’m not a bad person,” true when compared to hardened criminals and other villains that chase him after a run in at the massage parlor. But Neal remains a jerk, making it hard to care whether or not he finds a happy ending, either the story kind or (to borrow from the film’s poster, the massage parlor variation). So no further need clarify that Rub uh…struck…me the wrong way.

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