Arlo and Julie Still

Arlo and Julie | Steve Mims | SXSW 2014

Arlo and Julie is a pleasant and imaginative film from the mind of director (and writer) Steve Mims. To be blunt, it was a joy to watch.

One day Arlo (Alex Dobrenko) and Julie (Ashley Spillers) receive a mysterious package in the mail containing a two pieces of a puzzle. The next day they get four, eight the next, and so on. The package is anonymous with no return address, furthering the intrigue and confusion of the couple. They don’t know who would be sending them this, or why. But they’re oddly hooked and want more.

The packages don’t stop, and soon they become obsessed. They use their lunch break to wait for the mailman (Chris Doubek) in anticipation of more packages. Soon they stop going to work altogether, calling in sick in order to await the packages and to try and put together the overwhelming amount of pieces that start coming. The puzzle consumes them, soon becoming all they can think about. That is if they’re not disrupted by the bickering of their friends Rob (Hugo Vargas-Zesati) and Trish (Mallory Culbert), a tightly wound couple constantly coming unhinged and coming to Arlo and Julie for support. Only Arlo and Julie are far too occupied with their new-found obsession to worry about anything else.

As they come closer to piecing together the puzzle, Arlo and Julie‘s relationship is put to the test. They’re trust in one another comes into question, as do their loyalties. Slowly but surely the answer as to why they are being sent puzzle pieces is revealed, but it’s something you should go into the film knowing as little about as possible. Trust me, it’s just better that way.

Arlo and Julie is a delightfully sweet bit of fun, written and directed by Steve Mims. There’s a real Woody Allen feel to it all, from the tone to the jazzy music. Alex Dobrenko & Ashleey Spillers are an absolute delight as Arlo & Julie, as are Hugo Vargas-Zesati & Mallory Culbert as Rob & Trish. Chris Doubek gets to steal some scenes as a very intelligant mailman, and Sam Eidson gets moments to shine as Arlo’s very friendly co-worker Dirk.

From start to finish Arlo and Julie is a breezy good time. You’ll be sucked into the mystery just as much as Arlo & Julie, honestly curious about what the deal is with the puzzle. It’s well directed, well acted, and very funny. There’s not much to dislike about the film at all. It was a very pleasant time all-around.