Netflix has been experimenting with a lot of new content as of late. Amongst a slew of TV shows and original movies, Netflix has also put out some interesting things on its site that doesn’t seem to fit very well into either of those definitions. “Girlfriend’s Day” is a short movie that serves a nice niche that other movies and TV shows don’t: it’s easy to digest. It doesn’t command hours and hours of dedication that TV shows do, nor does it tease and entice the viewer with cliffhanger endings. It doesn’t take vast strides to cling onto your attention like a two and-a-half hour movie does, stretching out its run time just because. Instead, “Girlfriend’s Day” utilizes its run time to tell everything it needs to.
Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson, the film follows the path of Ray, a greeting card writer played by Bob Odenkirk. Ray used to write the top selling Valentine’s Day cards for his company, but since his wife left him, he has been struggling to find his voice. He is eventually fired from his job, prompting a bender of laziness and binge watching “Bum Fights” on TV.
Amidst Ray’s scraping of rock bottom, he hears the city will institute a new holiday: Girlfriend’s Day. There is also a contest to make the best card for the new holiday. Eager for rent money and a new claim to fame, Ray begins writing the card and finds himself entangled in a mess of murder, betrayal and a rivalry between two of the largest greeting card companies in the world.
“Girlfriend’s Day” is far from a perfect movie. In fact, it’s a subpar one. The story is a bit of a mess, introducing characters far too often and giving them little to no purpose throughout the film’s short 65 minute runtime.
Odenkirk carries the movie, delivering a performance that mimics that of his character Saul Goodman from “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” His unrelenting charm in the movie gracefully guides the viewer through the tongue in cheek shenanigans, despite the rocky plot. The cast is also full of familiar faces like Andy Richter and other recognizable but unnameable actors and actresses.
It’s hard to judge “Girlfriend’s Day” as a film because it hardly qualifies as one. Whereas “The Hunger Games” or “Lord of the Rings” feels like you’ve read a hefty set of novels after completing those series, “Girlfriend’s Day,” feels more like a short story. In an age where cinema is largely dominated by sequels and reboots, it’s refreshing to get an idea as fresh as this and in such a neat little package. Fundamentally the film is flawed for introducing too many characters and story arcs while utilizing too many cliches throughout the plot. However, that didn’t matter because you didn’t invest so much time into the film, you didn’t feel cheated by it.
“Girlfriend’s Day” is a delightful experiment from Netflix that is charming and original enough for the audience to look past some of the tropes of a bad film that would otherwise ruin a movie. Netflix should certainly invest in these shorter films to fill a market for fun films that don’t require too much from the viewer.