Review: ‘Break Point’ [SXSW 2014]

By Will Oliver, March 16th 2014 Reviews

Break Point

Break Point | Jay Karas | SXSW 2014

Break Point is a comedy from director Jay Karas based around the game of tennis. Growing up Jimmy (Jeremy Sisto) and Darren Price (David Walton) were a great doubles team. They were supposed to go pro together until Jimmy abandoned Darren after a famed player asked him to be his doubles partner. Although many years had passed, the two brothers had never been able to salvage their relationship.

We’re introduced to the brothers years later when Jimmy is a washed up player still competing in doubles matches, only he’s more focused on sneaking his booze after matches than after winning them. He has a crappy attitude and cares only for himself. After yet another partner leaves him, Jimmy is forced to find a partner in order to make one last run at it, as he’s well past his prime as is. After consulting with his dad (J.K. Simmons), Jimmy has no choice but to try and convince his brother to make one good old run with him like old times.

Lucky for Jimmy, Darren doesn’t quite have his life in order enough to say no. He’s a substitute teacher who is technically unemployed during the summer months, spending his days practicing his serves along with a lonely student of his named Barry (Joshua Rush). Darren is quick to deny Jimmy, still very much hurt by Jimmy’s betrayal all those years ago. Plus, he hasn’t played competitively in a while. It also doesn’t help that Darren see’s no chance of the duo winning with Jimmy, who is out of shape and unwilling to compromise any control. Soon enough they find a way to work together, the film takes off.

Through the game of tennis, we see the two brothers learn to let go, as well as grow up. They make an amazing run at the qualifying tournament that they compete in, but the real comeback is the rekindled relationship. We see them train, we see them play, we see them win. It’s a bit conventional sure, but when it feels this good, who cares?

Based on a script penned by Sisto and Gene Hong, Break Point is a comedic delight. The script has a bit of heart and brings in plenty of honest laughs. Credit to the solid tag-team duo of Sisto & Walton. Young Joshua Rush steals the show as the young Barry, and there’s also some timely appearances by Simmons as well as Amy Smart who plays an old crush of Darrens. There’s also comical bit roles for Vincent Ventresca, Chris Parnell, and Adam DeVine.

While it’s not a game changer by any means, Break Point is a easy going comedy that breezes on by. The tennis scenes are all engaging, even if you’re not all that big on the sport, like myself. It’s a rock solid directorial debut for Jay Karas who makes it all seem so easy. It will leave you entertained and smiling. What more could you ask for?

Rating: 7.5/10