'The Conway Curve': Film Review

Courtesy of Maverick Shaw
Veronica Wylie shines in the lead role of this tonally wobbly debut feature.

A young woman is reunited with her con artist brother in Marian Yeager's comic thriller.

Director/co-screenwriter Marian Yeager has some trouble pulling the narrative strings of her debut indie about a young woman who gets involved in various shady dealings thanks to her con-artist brother. Often lapsing into attempts at broad comedy that don’t quite come off, the tonally wobbly The Conway Curve is most notable for the appealing lead performance by Veronica Wylie, who displays deft comic chops even when forced to commit to such tired running gags as her character repeatedly hitting her head.

The ramshackle plot revolves around Natalie Conway (Wylie), whose older brother Luke (Bradley Snedeker) severed contact with the family years earlier. In an early scene depicting younger versions of the characters, Luke’s disappointed father (Casper Van Dien, in an unlikely bit of casting), asks his wayward son, “When did I stop being your father and become your mark?”

Cut to years later, when dad has passed away and Natalie learns that she’s his sole heir. Not surprisingly, Luke suddenly reappears after a decades-long absence and seeks to work his way back into her good graces for obvious reasons. The ensuing farcical complications include a rare coin stolen in a heist many years earlier, a fake mugging and a “zombie survival skills” course in which Natalie is revealed to have surprisingly strong fighting skills.

The sort of comedy in which the lead character thinks she’s in an unrecognizable disguise simply by slapping a fake moustache on her face, The Conway Curve delves into rom-com territory with its depiction of the burgeoning romance between Natalie and a coffee shop server (Charlie Bodin) — they “meet cute,” naturally — who becomes her partner in the complicated machinations. Other characters figuring in the convoluted proceedings are a bumbling criminal (Sonny Valicenti) and his female accomplice (Hayden Tweedie) who befriends Natalie.

The screenplay, written by the director and Richard Dane Scott, features some amusing dialogue and situations whose effectiveness is unfortunately undercut by the straining for laughs. But Wylie’s spunky heroine proves engaging enough to compensate for the rickety storyline, with viewers likely to end up cheering her character on as she proves herself far cleverer than the men trying to take advantage of her.

Production companies: Conway Curve, MY Productions, Reel Goode Productions
Distributor: Indie Rights
Cast: Veronica Wylie, Bradley Snedeker, Casper Van Dien, Charlie Bodin, Sonny Valicenti, Haden Tweedie
Director: Marian Yeager
Screenwriters: Marian Yeager, Richard Dane Scott
Producers: Marian Yeager, Elizabeth Yeager, Leilani Goode
Executive producers: Stacey Parks, Marian Yeager
Director of photography: Philip Roy
Production designer: Mark Harlien
Editor: Frank Reynolds
Costume designer: Rachel Dagdagan
Composer: Brian Satterwhite
Casting: Steve Maisel

90 minutes