'Breaking & Exiting': Film Review

Do not resuscitate.

Actor Peter Facinelli's directing debut is a rom-com about interrupted suicide.

A man who lives by stealing others' stuff robs a woman of the right to end it all in Breaking & Exiting — and the more times he does it, the more she loves him. Written by leading lady Jordan Hinson (who stars alongside Mel Gibson's son Milo) and marking the directing debut of actor Peter Facinelli, it's as unconvincing as big-screen romances get, which is saying something. Commercial prospects are slim.

"Every day we make decisions" Gibson's Harry intones at the film's beginning, his voiceover playing like it may be an advertisement for an investment-planning service. But Harry isn't trying to get you to think of your golden years — he's fleeing the scene of a burglary and deciding whether he should return to save a woman in that house who just swallowed a handful of pills. Or, as he gently puts it once he gets back to her, "Come on, you crazy bitch, vomit!"

Taking a 20-minute-ish detour to establish Harry's roguish (which is not to say charming) character, the movie employs plentiful freeze frame and VO to make sure we don't miss anything: Harry robs houses with his cousin Chris (Adam Huber); Chris wants to go straight; after nearly getting caught on their last job, Chris refused to go on this one. Good for him.

Back in the present, Harry's pulling Daisy (Hinson) out of the bath she hoped to die in, deciding he has to stick around the house and try on all the occupant's clothes to make sure she doesn't finish what she started.

For some reason, Daisy accepts her new houseguest, and sits around playing get-to-know-you as you might with someone you just met at a party. This is the home of her ex-boyfriend, she says, who broke up with her earlier today. The story (or the residue of antidepressants) makes her sleepy, so she nods off on Harry's shoulder, as one does with a felon that appears to be girlfriend-free.

After some limp bickering about whether she can be trusted alone, Harry has a brilliant idea: He'll cook her a final meal, and if she still wants to kill herself, he'll leave. "God, fine," she says. "But make it super fancy."

From here on out, we're essentially seeing a first date whose chitchat fails to enchant and whose (eventual) culmination is PG-rated sex set to lite funk pop. Personal growth is on the menu, naturally, with what the filmmakers likely view as a twist in store. But the screenplay suffers from a severe imagination deficit, as if this twisted take on "meet cute" should be enough by itself to hang a movie on. It isn't.

Production company: Kali Pictures
Distributor: Freestyle Digital Media
Cast: Milo Gibson, Jordan Hinson, Adam Huber
Director: Peter Facinelli
Screenwriter: Jordan Hinson
Producers: Cecile Cubilo, Jordan Hinson
Executive producers: Martine Melloul, Andrew van den Houten
Director of photography: Christopher Hamilton
Costume designer: Bo Roses
Editor: Vaughn Bien III
Composer: Sacha Chaban

78 minutes