To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Hotter Up Close is an LGBTQ+ short film directed by Leland Montgomery (Like Animals) from a screenplay written by Christopher Matias Aguila (Rehearsal is Cancelled). Featuring Aguila, Liz Jenkins, Francisco San Martin, Luke Millington-Drake, Jay Renshaw, Mike Abbate, Devon Drew, Carl Ezold, Anthony Garcia, Elijah Olachea, Mick Torres, John David Williams, and Alice Victoria Winslow. The story follows Chris, a recently single gay slacker who must overcome his crippling insecurities to find love on the eve of his 30th birthday.
In Hollywood Los Angeles, Chris (Christopher Matias Aguila) works out while listening to a self-help tape to get over a recent breakup. While stretching his friend Dana (Liz Jenkins) talks to him about what he wants to do for his 30th birthday while also comforting him. Chris mentions his boyfriend’s infidelity and states he should have seen it coming. Dana tells him that he’s better off and he will find someone else soon mentioning all the guys that come into their store. As they continue talking they realize they are late for work.
Short films are very important for up-and-coming directors and writers. Studios look to these to find fresh blood and original stories. While the budgets and runtime are shorter, there is no less effort put into creating a good final product. While not every short film director is guaranteed a big production, it does help build their resume so at the minimum they can become a working director and make a living because commercials need directors too.
Hotter Up Close is a fine short film albeit a little predictable. However, the acting is solid and the dialogue believable. The main characters Chris and Dana are a likable duo. This is thanks to the chemistry between Aguila and Jenkins. In such a short amount of time, they sell the audience on their friendship. The story will inevitably be compared to other rom-coms such as the recently released movie Bros. and with its disappointing box office, I can’t see Hotter Up Close getting optioned for a feature-length adaptation. That being said, the story is prime for a How I Met Your Father-style pilot.
While the story isn’t anything new it’s nice to see a fresh take every once in a while. I give Hotter Up Close a Solid 5/10. The best thing this short film does is open up the door for more LGBTQ+ artists to continue to make rom-coms that reflect their lives.