In IFC Film’s Shithouse, director-writer Cooper Raiff plays a somewhat emotionally hindered college freshman named Alex. His problem is that he wears his heart too plainly on his sleeve and therefore isn’t aloof or blase enough. This becomes apparent when he scores with Maggie (Dylan Gelula), who feels weirded out by his morning-after sincerity. Or something in that realm.
My disorientation stems from the fact that Raiff is (a) good looking in a young Harry Hamlin sort of way, and (b) curiously rail thin. This goes against the Schlumpies & Dumpies aesthetic that began to take hold about five years ago…an anti-attractiveness aesthetic that argued with the decades-old Hollywood rule by which the guy who got the girl looked like the guy who got the girl.
Sometime during the Obama administration leading males began to look a little dweebier, a little thicker and pudgier, a little dorkier and a little beardier with pimples on their butt cheeks. Raiff doesn’t fit this paradigm — he actually looks attractive in the old-fashioned waspy-Warren Beatty-in-the-’60s-and-’70s sense. So I don’t get it. Is Raiff an outlier, or an indication of a new direction, a new vogue?
Shithouse, which won SXSW’s Grand Jury Award last March, will premiere in select theaters and on VOD on 10.16.20.