Slamdance 2023: Love Dump

Directed by: Jason Avezzano
Distributed by: TBA

Written by Alexander Reams


Hallmark movies exist in the gray area between horrible and comedy gold, and romance is a genre that blends well with humor, and that is the subject of Jason Avezzano’s feature debut. Avezzano makes his point clear from the opening credits, this is satire. From the upbeat, major-keyed piano that underscores every scene with a sense of optimism. The film’s music informs the narrative and leads the audience along to the “chance” encounter of Todd (Jesse Kendall, also co-writer) and Jessica (Leila Gorstein, also co-writer) in a park. Kendall plays Todd’s satirical aloofness with a level of genuine care, underneath all the satirical elements, this is most evident when Todd is injured during their encounter at the park, and Jessica helps, despite her lack of medical training. Avezzano runs down the greatest hits list of any romcom, Todd dump’s his ex’s stuff (in a box labeled “stuff I don’t want any more”), then Todd and Jessica have another chance encounter this time at Jessica’s job. It’s a well-written moment, the awkwardness between them feels real, all while Avezzano uses cheesy romance music to alleviate some of the tension. 

Kendall and Gorstein being the writers helped the dialogue feel real despite the entire film being a joke, allowing for actual emotion to flourish between the laughs. Working on the script allowed them to develop chemistry that translated onscreen throughout the film, even during the first few awkward meetings. Avezzano directs this with a humble tone, making the viewer feel like a fly on the wall in this surreal world where everything happens for these 2 kids because the story dictates it. It’s maddening at times because everything seems so obvious, even with it being a parody it doesn’t avoid the pitfalls that every movie it’s making fun of has made. With each of these meetings, the attraction between Todd and Jessica is evident, and they recognize that themselves. It’s the restraint that leads to a lot of cringy (Todd throwing a fit over a dog licking a sewer grate) and sweet (Jessica and Todd’s goodbye at her work) moments within the film. “Love Dump” works because of the commitment from its leads/writers and Avezzano’s fearless leadership, allowing for one of the finer romantic comedies in some time.

“Love Dump” Trailer

“Love Dump” was screened as part of the 2023 edition of the Slamdance Film Festival.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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