Inspired by a short story in men's magazine GQ, the origins of 'Easier with Practice' say much about the film it finally turns out to be.
Short story writer Davy Mitchell (Geraghty) is on the final leg of an unsuccessful tour around New Mexico, where he is trying to sell his short stories with his brother Sean (O'Neill). Sensitive, but emotionally stunted, Davy gets a very strange phone call one night while alone in his motel room from a stranger named 'Nicole'. Although the chat is awkward to begin with, very quickly its subject matter moves into the erotic, and within minutes the pair have got it on, albeit in a way Alexander Graham Bell probably never imagined he'd be taking credit for.
Davy, sensing his first real connection with a woman, is eager for more, and the two begin their rather strange relationship of nightly trysts down separate ends of a phone line. Although Nicole is eager to please Davy sexually, when he tries to get closer and find out more about her she shoots him down, refusing to meet up or give him her phone number. Instead, she always initiates the calls on a private line.
Davy's social awkwardness is apparent as he shows little interest in the women he meets at his book readings, preferring instead his nightly chats with Nicole. When Sean's suspicions are aroused as to who his mystery caller is and Davy confesses, his brother is merciless in his teasing, ridiculing a relationship which Davy obviously feels there is more to. When Davy returns home, he becomes even more reclusive, unable to forget Nicole and resolves to engineer a meeting between them.
The alienation and isolation felt by Davy to everyone around him is masterfully performed by 'Hurt Locker' star Geraghty. Make no mistake, this is a sparse film, and hinges on Geraghty's portrayal of its central character. Davy embodies the loneliness felt in modern society, a yearning to form meaningful relationships but only truly comfortable when at a physical distance and free to fantasise rather than live in the here and now.
Unfortunately, though, besides outlining the malaise of modern life, 'Easier with Practice' doesn't offer the audience much else to work with. There is no redemption to be found in its incredible story, its flimsy twist and ambiguous ending not leaving the audience saying 'What happened?' as much as 'Why bother?'.
A pity then, with such thematic big hitters that when you scratch beneath the surface there is not a whole lot more to this film. Much like that magazine article read while waiting to go into the dentists, it's a good distraction, and passes the time, but also easily forgettable.