Friday, May 28, 2021

Welcome Matt Review: A Hilarious and Human Film About Conquering Fear

Release date: May 28, 2021
Running time: 92 minutes
Starring: Tahj Mowry, Deon Cole, Jazsmin Lewis-Kelley, Dorien Wilson, and G.G. Townson
Written and Directed By: Leon Pierce Jr 

Matt (Tahj Mowry) is a twenty something year old up and coming filmmaker that encounters a traumatic experience on the verge of his big break into the film industry. As a result of suffering this traumatic incident, he finds himself developing agoraphobia and is now unable to leave his home. Feeling compelled to stay inside where he believes it to be safe, but still wanting to create art, he decides to write, direct and star in a feature film project that no one believes in! As a result of this, his girlfriend breaks up with him, he finds himself being broke and facing an eviction and his only saving grace is to take a movie deal to get back on his feet. But in order to do so, he must overcome his fear of going outside. So, with the help of an in-home therapist, Matt makes an effort to overcome his fears and go outside, in hopes of living a better and much more fulfilling life.

Welcome Matt has a funny, approachable style right from the start.  The film starts with a clip of Matt's breakout film before then showing the world that he has since retreated to.  But Matt is not a total recluse, he communicates with his fans via online chatting and his friends / girlfriend when they come over.  These make the film feel very modern and relatable as I'm sure many people have been communicating and interacting with their friends this way during the last year.  But just the nature of this film means that a lot of screen time is devoted to Tahj Mowry, and thankfully he can carry this load as the funny and somewhat broken Matt.  His character is good natured and complicated, and a lot of the humor is in his reactions to the strange situations his friends and significant others place him in during this film.  And the other main standout is Deon Cole as Matt's impromptu mentor Norman, who adds some much needed life perspective to this film.  And the other main player in this film is the house that Matt stays in.  This film could have been more depressing but a smart set and bright colored walls make sure that Welcome Matt keeps a light tone even when dealing with some serious subject matter.

But Welcome Matt is first and foremost a comedy.  The movie is very funny especially when Matt is reacting to the craziness around him.  There are some hilarious jokes and some very sharp writing.  And because the movie also deals with a screenwriter, there are several very good film references as punch lines.  And each of the very distinct characters offers somethign to help with the levity.  Some of Matt's friends hilariously won't take no for an answer, and some of his new acquaintances try to use him to break into the film world.  All of these interactions are fun to see and give some variety to Matt's day to day.  Welcome Matt is also a drama, but thankfully it is a comedy first.  The film does a good job with Matt's agoraphobia, but the dramatic elements sometimes feel a little tacked on to the overall comedy.  But these elements do strengthen as the movie progresses and the film does conclude with a satisfying ending that wraps up the overall comedic and dramatic elements of the story.

Additionally, Welcome Matt has a great soundtrack.  The film uses some very good music to accentuate the comedy and emphasize the drama when needed.  It sets the mood perfectly and makes sure that the light hearted scenes stay light hearted.  And it can't go without mentioning that this film also has a pretty much all black cast playing characters with very diverse backgrounds and interests.  It is great to see the variety of characters and personalities on screen and this variety keeps the film moving along.  The film has a few minor rough edges but overall, this is great indie drama / comedy that touches on something that a lot of people are dealing with right now. 

Welcome Matt brings together a very funny all black cast for a hilarious and human story about life, love, success, and overcoming obstacles.

Watch it.

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Welcome Matt is available in theaters and digitally on May 28, 2021.  For 

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