'Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks': Film Review

Too many Brinks, not enough plot.
8/17/2018

Two estranged siblings reconnect after the deaths of their parents in Josh Crockett's comedy/drama.

Josh Crockett's directorial debut about siblings coming into conflict after the deaths of their long-absent parents strives for a 1970s-era, low-key vibe. The film succeeds in that aspiration, but to a fault. So understated in both its dramatic and comedic aspects that it fails to make any real impression whatsoever, Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks demonstrates little reason for being.

Its title, which sounds like an old vaudeville routine, refers to an unseen, married pair of doctors without borders that die in a plane crash while attending to children in South Asia. The tragic news doesn't overly distress estranged siblings Marcus (Scott Rodgers) and Michelle (Kristin Slaysman, who is married to the director and also serves as producer), who haven't had much contact with their parents in many years.

Marcus, a music teacher and aspiring composer, lives with his wife, Alex (Ashley Spillers), in a modest house gifted to them by his late parents before their death. When Michelle arrives for the funeral, she's discomfited to learn of the largesse afforded her brother by their folks, but he reminds her that he at least emailed them once in a while. Michelle thinks that she should be part owner of the house, but the point becomes moot when the siblings learn from their parents' lawyer (Roger Guenveur Smith, smartly underplaying) that the house is in their name. He also informs them that their estate is actually deeply in debt. They do leave their children their possessions, which arrive shortly and include an adorable dog.

Michelle is clearly a free spirit, as evidenced by her awkward sexual tryst in a car with a man she met during the memorial service. She also quickly strikes up a romantic relationship with Alex's firefighter father, Bill (Robert Longstreet). Although he's initially resistant to her advances out of decorum's sake and because he's technically still married, he quickly succumbs to Michelle's charms and can't believe his good fortune.  

The discovery of the relationship puts a strain on Marcus and Alex's marriage. When he subsequently becomes emotional while performing his original songs at a local coffee house, he accepts the invitation of two attractive women to join them in their hotel room. The encounter doesn't go well.

These various amorous entanglements are what mainly constitute the story for the movie, which serves as a character study of its quirky central figures. Unfortunately, they don't prove very interesting, with the result that neither the familial conflicts nor Michelle and Bill's burgeoning relationship carry any narrative weight. There are some mildly enjoyable eccentric moments, such as when Michelle's suppressed grief manifests itself while she's tied up in preparation for some kinky sex, or Marcus playfully comes on to Alex while she's wearing green face cream.

But such interludes are few and far between, with the viewer left wondering what the point of it all is. The film is most enjoyable for the sexy and vibrant performance by Slaysman, for whom it seems designed as a star-making vehicle. She's good enough that Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks might have succeeded in that goal, except that not many people are likely to see it.

Production companies: Explosive Bolts Films, Cervidea Films, Salem Street Entertainment
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Cast: Kristin Slaysman, Scott Rodgers, Ashley Spillers, Robert Longstreet, Roger Guenveur Smith, Nicole Shaloub, Aalok Mehta, Demorge Brown, Donald Ian Black
Director-editor: Josh Crockett
Screenwriters: Josh Crockett, Jonathan Pappas
Producers: Dan Riesser, Kristin Slaysman, Ted Speaker
Executive producers: Todd Remis, Kathleen Hudak Slaysman
Director of photography: Daryl Pittman
Production designer: Diana Markessinis
Composer: Donald Ian Black
Costume designer: Allison Choi Braun
Casting: Amey Rene

86 minutes