The Daphne Project
Imagine a Christopher Guest mockumentary crossed with the audacity of the Tik Tok generation and you’d have THE DAPHNE PROJECT. Set in the world of a New York City off-off (off) Broadway theatre troupe, focusing on Daphne Wilco (Zora Iman Crews) as she shamelessly barrels her way through a production of Euripides, leaving a trail of amateur actors and crew in her wake.
Zora plays Daphne like Mindy Kaling’s character from The Office. She is consciously manipulative while at the same time still managing to stay somewhat likable throughout the film. Crews’ acting is exceptional, and she (mostly intentionally) pulls focus in any scene she’s in.
There are some great moments of comedy by April Lavalle as well, who plays the director’s assistant Joanne. She takes her role and elevates what could have been just another face in the movie to a memorable character that I wanted to see more of. That isn’t to say the rest of the cast are slouches in any way. They all take their roles and make them their own, giving each person life and personality.
The comedy is broad and mainstream as written, which isn’t a bad thing in the least. It appeals to everyone and keeps the pacing of this film (with a runtime on the shorter side of roughly an hour) going until the end. They touch upon aspects of race, the MeToo movement, and more by creatively weaving their humorous narrative around these issues with a deft hand.
Narratively speaking, there’s no way the audience should connect with Crews’ character Daphne, and it would be easy to play her as earnestly bumbling, but playing her character as actually competent, or dare I say a good theater actor works better for the overall story and takes the comedy to the next level.
The only thing that didn’t work for me was the cutting back and forth to Zora doing videos to her followers and updating them throughout the movie. I get why they do it, but it doesn’t seem to serve the overall story and would have worked better if we just saw Zora updating them from the film crew’s perspective rather than changing the framing, especially when we already have interview-style shots being utilized as a narrative framing device.
The sound is clear, and everything comes through with no issues whether they are doing just single interview-style takes or ensemble scenes. The musical interstitials could be more dynamic.
Overall, a solid comedy that will only put you out an hour of your life and will leave an enjoyable aftertaste in your mouth after you’re finished.
We Rely On You!
FilmSnobbery is funded by our generous and loyal readers. To keep giving you the best independent film coverage, we need your continued support. Thank you!