Written, directed, and starring Drew Denny, The Most Fun I’ve Had With My Pants On is a an innovate selection for this year’s Outfest. The film follows Andy, a bold young lesbian with a chip on her shoulder, on a road trip to scatter Andy’s father’s ashes. Liv (Sarah Hagen) is Andy’s prissy sidekick and childhood best friends. Liv, an aspiring actress with anxiety issues, joins Andy on the road from L.A. to Austin because she desperately wants to ace an audition for the role of “vixen spy.” Much ado is made about the two’s mismatched pairing. Andy, an all-American blonde doing her best to channel Kate Hudson a la Almost Famous) masks her emotions by pursuing entertainment and trouble at all costs. Liv, a lovely worrywart who dreams of stardom, is constantly cycling between concern and enjoyment of Andy’s antics.
The Most Fun I’ve Had With My Pants On is gorgeously shot from beginning to end. In fact, the film’s greatest strength is cinematography and setting. From California to Texas, the starlets are surrounded by Americana landscape in all it’s vast glory. It’s a strikingly polished effort from a first time independent filmmaker.
The film has many areas of strength and one noticeable area of weakness: words. For large swaths of film there is no dialogue, leaving the audience to follow the plot entirely by the expressions on Andy and Liv’s face. I get why Drew Denny kept dialogue to minimum, each locale is interesting in it’s own right. However, there’s only so long anyone can watch a pretty girl in front of a pretty sunset breathe before getting antsy for something to happen. In that sense, The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had With My Pants On reminds me much more of Paris, Texas than Thelma & Louise. Rather than expressing gradual change or internal discourse taking place in each protagonist, Denny wants the audience to guess for themselves, to project our feelings on such lovely and occasionally blank slates. It’s a great idea, but connecting with Andy wasn’t as easy as seeing someone that I liked.
When words are spoken in the film, they’re almost exclusively in conversation between Andy and Liv. Although Andy might be making the journey in honor of her father, the important relationship in is between Andy and Liv. You’re probably wondering (I certainly was) if anything gay goes down between Andy and Liv, or Andy and anyone for that matter. In the one scene where there is a shadow of sexual tension between the two, it is made painfully clear that one of the two sees the other without a trace of attraction. Actually, that scene was the most interesting interaction.
Andy and Liv are attractive characters, but somewhat one-dimensional. Dialogue between the two is entertaining but occasionally repetitive, and there needs to be more of it to flesh out who the girls are and what they really want. They are both distinct and attractive, but lacking depth. The dialogue, when there is dialogue, flows naturally for both Andy and Liv.
The Most Fun I’ve Had With My Pants On is a good movie and great debut for Denny. Her lovely and slightly surreal aesthetic is a pleasure to watch, as well as her charming heroines. Like a good dream, it leaves you enchanted but also wondering what it was all about.
Visit funpantsmovie.com to find out when and where you can see the film near you.