Love Virtually

love virtually
Love virtually
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If you are too afraid to ask out your crush, why not enter the metaverse and try meeting them? The movie Love Virtually is a recent ensemble comedy by L.E. Staiman who also co-wrote, produced, directed as well as starred in it, that addresses this issue and challenges us regarding an obsession with the Metaverse and other virtual reality type of norms which have become part of the world since COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns began. Sound like something we’ve all heard before?

But Love Virtually is also a film making fun of the many controversies about coronavirus pandemics; unfortunately, this cannot overshadow low budget and poor actors except Cheri Oteri (SNL) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day). With only a few minutes long runtime, Love Virtually drags itself on and one may soon grow exhausted with all the real world analogies and parallels that Staiman tries to squeeze in.

For example Groucho Marx once said “I’m not crazy about reality but it’s still the only place I can get a decent meal.” This is also how Love virtually begins through its opening title card introducing its subject matter for instance what one should expect within Metaverse. These two characters are Roddy Danger (Peter Gilroy) and his girlfriend Kimberly (Paige Mobley), or rather ex-girlfriend because they have just broken up but Roddy is looking to make up with her again. And if he has to fight an internet celebrity from Metaverse’ ends like death then let that be! Enter Kalvin Kluck who’s even got a catchy slogan on his page when he goes live online. Now think of yourself saying ‘cool’ each time it was mentioned but replace every word with ‘subscribe’. That’s exactly what Kluck does so often: imagine it painted on such vivid canvas! Although funny at first, at some point you might say aloud “Ok, we heard you.”

Another great example of this time is that in Love Virtually, network news coverage shows VR battles rather than deadly virus updates. Yet it’s a big deal when Roddy loses his fight against Kalvin but still decides to do whatever he can to get Kimberly back. He calls Clarissa (Nikki Howard), her best friend who has had her own share of problems after getting cancelled for posting a “mud mask” selfie thought to be racially offensive by the public. For advice, she turns to Dr. Evelyn (Oteri) who indulges in a hot little VR affair with life coach Dr. Divine (Tobolowsky). Because later on there is an amazing twist in this relationship that will not be given away here.

Clarissa was not only canceled like others too. This is La Monte (Vincent Washington), a well-known e-sports player whose story mirrors Rudy Gobert; one of the NBA stars and how he caused COVID-19 spread in March 2020. Now he wants to redeem himself from public backlash due to spreading coronavirus so he heads out to Barry his agent who also consults the same doctor Divine, along with Angela his wife (Ksenia Valenti). Barry was taught everything about being an esports agent by his mean old man Richard played by Tom Virtue. If it wasn’t for actors like Virtue who have been loved even since Even Stevens times by their fans then Love Virtually could have been even more difficult to sit through

More importantly, Barry is in stress due to his wife Angela having an affair – with a Nordstrom promotional “bot”, whose “grandfather” is the famous Microsoft Office assistant, Clippy. No kidding. Leaning into this absurdism is how Love Virtually succeeds at anything else. While Barrry and Angela argue, Dr. Divine can’t help but get distracted with thoughts of his secret lover Dr. Evelyn who also went on to take Roddy as a new client earlier on when Clarissa referred him to her. Clarissa has taken up going undercover on a “Soul-Date” dating app to find true love without exposing herself as the alleged racist under fire.’ She does the same thing La Monte does: both try hiding their COVID-spreader identities and thus link up in the app. What are the odds?! Oteri and Tobolowsky are so much more fun to watch; it’s too bad we don’t see more of them.

However, Roddy tried all sorts of things for Kirnberly’s friend Clarissa not to pay attention to him even after they had dinner together just last night but he turned out not well for that reason he decided in search for dark web which will enable him access exclusive club where Kimberly will be that night.The day after sees e-sports agent Barry and La Monte plan for a meeting set up by Richard but his wife Angela tells him that it’s all a setup intended for hacking La Monte’s avatar by…yes you guessed it…Russians! This is another reference to real-life headlines that have dominated global news over recent years.

One other would-be funny moment happens when Kimberly’s avatar openly advertises an energy drink during her casual conversation with Kalvin at the club thereby taking a dig at social media influencers’ endless mission to hype random consumer brands. Very quickly some brawls break out at the club, leaving several characters pondering their destiny and repetitively asking, “If you die in VR, will you die in the real world?” Fans of The Matrix will certainly recognize this line of thinking. Also even Roddy’s character has a virtual reality twist on Ferris Bueller’s famous ending words: “Life moves pretty fast…”

Staiman could have filmed his new feature with a bigger budget that facilitated sexier animations and more experienced young cast alongside a tighter script which comprised deeper character development thus making it to the big screen instead. Consequently, Love Virtually is now available on digital and on demand.

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