Life as a writer is not all about celebrity and awards ceremonies and Davy knows this all too well. He’s on a road trip, promoting his writing and giving readings from his book of short stories at bookstores in the towns he visits. His writing may at least be partly derived from true stories, or rather "things people do to each other", although he claims only to "write about other people". Accompanying him on this journey is his brother Sean and they drive from location to location, dreaming of girls and spending too many nights in cheap motels. Davy lacks the outgoing enthusiastic audacity of his brother when it comes to on-the-road relationships but a bizarre but lucky break comes to him via some hot phone sex with Nicole, via a random out-of-the-blue phone call that makes his night on the hired bed much more intimate, even if is the only one present in his motel room. And so Davy’s publicity inspired road trip is enhanced by regular calls from a sexually audacious new girlfriend, even if she does have a boyfriend. What will this do not only to his career but also his relationship with his brother and the girls they both know from home? And will Davy ever get to meet the elusive Nicole?
Although the premise could easily be mistaken for a US teen-sex comedy (two boys in a car, road trip, funky sex, potential disasters) Easier With Practice is an indie movie. This is a character piece, focussing almost entirely on its central character’s desire to learn about who he is and how he functions in relationships. He is ambitious but ineffective and far more self-conscious than his more obviously outre brother with his easily adaptable and self-motivated gratifications. Davy’s personal identifications with relationships and his desire for creative furtherance are not only signposted in the paintings that adorn the title sequence and the cover of the tacky romance novel he’s reading on his journey, but in the manner that he deals with his own sexual behaviour with the unseen but initially enthusiastic Nicole – he is as dedicated as he is amusing. This, together with a later discussion of his actual previous relationships and meeting a former girlfriend back home, help to identify him as a character who tries to be understanding but is incapable of bland, normal, human behaviour if it cannot affect his emotions or art. Davy, whatever his issues, is a character whose needs and attitudes are exposed by the film as something that society cannot fully appreciate.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez ensures his film appears realistic in its contemporary Red One camera shooting. The scenes are almost documentary in their execution, with the requisite longueurs to give a more accurate feel of life on the road. Although the narrative (which is, according to the credits, based upon a true story) is structured to make a thorough and, in the main, complete story, its revelations are never overplayed or over envisaged. Additionally, the soundtrack helps engage the mood by harking back to everything from modern independents to those of the 80’s and 90’s. Overall it is a film about relationships and the way people react to each other regardless of background or upbringing and is filmed in a way that observes the bizarre nature of modern day-to-day life.
Easier With Practice is an easy paced drama with elements of comedy that occasionally recall early David O. Russell films but within a solitarily plotted road movie where no one can emerge without some emotional scars. An amiable, engaging character piece that provides chilled out viewing.