2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Shorts Program and Audience Award winner


The entertainment value coming from the trepidation and pitfalls of dating is all over the short film “First Kiss.”  A hopeless New Yorker named Rick (Owen Fitzpatrick) is getting ready to meet a girl for a meet when he’s razzed by his cereal-eating sarcastic buddy Matt (Miah Kane).  Rick is wondering if this meet is an actual date.  Matt feels the need to remind him that dates have certain outcomes.  From there, you clearly see that Rick and his cluelessness are not good at this whole courtship scene.  

The advice Matt gives him is to avoid his repartee of cheesy movie quotes and puns.  Why?  Flashbacks zip us back to a pair of recent dates that Rick, confused greatly by women’s signals, has ruined in glorious fashion.  One date (Jess Kaliban) was filled with backhanded insults and the other (Michelle David) was filled with come-hither compliments.  Maybe this fetching new date with Rachel (Lauren Wickel) will turn out different and have the potential for fireworks.

As it plays out its thirteen minutes, “First Kiss” is hilarious and charming in its tidy simplicity.  Written by Fitzpatrick himself and directed by Patrick O’Shea, the short film generates the right amplitude of sparks cooled by the right temperament of sweetness.  The effortless location shooting grabs its little sliver of the Big Apple and makes every spot inviting.  The actors fill those spaces with easy and winning affability.  Closed out by singer Donal Kearney’s absorbing track “Alone,” the vibe is all there, making “First Kiss” is a delightful morsel of romance.  

LESSON #1: GOOD LUCK TRANSLATING THE WORDS AND SIGNALS OF WOMEN-- Anyone who’s been on a date or two or lucky enough to be married knows this lesson well.  Women can run as hot and cold as a broken faucet and their minds are unreadable.  Us boys are equally terrible at getting hints.  Sometimes, we have a better chance of deciphering the signs of a Major League Baseball third base coach than a member of the opposite sex.

LESSON #2: NOT ALL DATES ARE DATES-- For a date to truly be a date, the feelings and outcomes of romance need to be mutually shared.  One side feeling the vibe isn’t enough.  As deemed by Matt, the no-doubt indicator that chimes “date” is the title of this short film or, as the cool kids call it “first base.”  Great love stories don’t begin with handshakes or pity hugs.