Evan (Evan Sneider) is a young man with Down's Syndrome who lives with his mother, and also works with her at a local diner. Evan is a big fan of trashy daytime soap operas, and is looking for a love of his own. He develops a crush on local lady Candy (Shannon Woodward), who has her own issues to deal with; namely she is leading two men along for custody, claiming them both to be the father of her son, and one of these men has a really, really bad temper. When Evan comes into some money, he gives it to Candy to help her out of a sticky situation, but it's never clear just how guilty Candy feels for using Evan, nor is it clear if Evan is abusing the sympathy he receives just to get what he wants.
In case it wasn't clear, Girlfriend is not an easy or comfortable watch. Evan's fixation with Candy is not exactly harmless or innocent, and the more complicated the situation gets, the less innocent Evan and Candy's relationship becomes. This potential minefield is handled with care by writer/director Justin Lerner, but overall the story of Girlfriend is too slight to really leave much of an impression.
What does leave an impression however is Evan Sneider, delivering a genuinely nuanced performance in his feature debut, and alon--side him is Shannon Woodward walking a tight-rope of a character; a desperate single mother who doesn't want to be the villain, but still young enough and dumb enough to make mistakes like ending up in bed with the wrong type of guy.
Girlfriend suffers for its want to be an indie-darling, and it's this desperation that ultimately leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Everything just seems too obviously designed to get a reaction from the audience, leaving behind an interesting but far from enjoyable movie.
Review by entertainment.ie | 11:48 | Wednesday 5th December 2012 | Movie Review