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‘Small Engine Repair: review: Bro-centric film has great dialogue & uneven story

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Small Engine Repair is a story about three friends who have had a falling out. Frank (John Pollono), Swaino (Jon Bernthal), and Packie (Shea Whigham) meet up one day at the urging of Frankie. The two friends are not sure why Frankie suddenly called them, but he has good whiskey and is showing the fight. Little do they know, Frankie has something planned that goes deeper than getting drunk and watching MMA.

The acting is stellar throughout the entire film. There is an authenticity to everyone that draws audiences in. Small Engine Repair is more than just a bunch of people talking with stereotypical Northeastern accents. The dialogue is all very natural and engaging. Small Engine Repair is filled with flashbacks to add to the stories being swapped between the three friends. It is in these moments the film shines. The trio are honest and vulnerable and keep the story engaging.

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Everything goes smoothly until the film’s central conflict is introduced. The easy going character study is replaced by a standard revenge thriller. The smart writing becomes generic and familiar. Small Engine Repair also takes a shockingly dark turn. The film has a lot to say about social media and bullying, but it almost seems out of place. There is some foreshadowing regarding the social media aspect, but everything else seems like it is from a different film.

Things also become very rushed in regards to the story. Everything is wrapped up a little too easily. This is especially surprising considering how well written Small Engine Repair is up until the tone changes. What ends up saving Small Engine Repair is the great acting never falters. The one liners continue and the characters become more fully rounded. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments and the film will keep audiences engaged the entire time.

Small Engine Repairs comes to theaters September 10

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