It’s not often when a movie premieres in Arizona. Last week, âFunny Thing About Loveâ made its well-attended debut at Harkins Superstition Springs in Mesa when the cast, crew, director, and producers drove into the theater parking lot in some massive limos. Outside the theater, hundreds of enthusiastic fans lined up to watch the red carpet arrivals and attend the screening of the family vacation romantic comedy.
The buzz of the evening was due to several factors. One of the film’s co-stars, Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”, “Benchwarmers”, “Blades of Glory”) was clearly a huge draw as evidenced by a good number of fans wearing “Napoleon Dynamite” shirts and shouting for Heder’s attention on the red carpet. Another big draw was the fact that the film was shot at Gilbert and Mesa by writer and director Adam White, who is a resident of Gilbert. Lead actress Summer Bellessa, who is also a resident of Gilbert, was in the foreground to chat with fans during the evening.
âOur mission statement at Pitch White Entertainment is to create movies that everyone can enjoy, that are truly entertaining and that are also family friendly,â said White of his film production company. âI’m a champion for bringing family movie night back. The reality is, you don’t have a lot of options unless it’s lively.
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âWe took advantage of the fact that a lot of actors weren’t doing anything because of COVID,â White explained of how the movie played out so quickly. The decision was finalized to make âFunny Thing About Loveâ in October 2020, immediately went into pre-production and filmed in January 2021.
The cast and crew came together in a flash. âDue to COVID-19, they were trying to make this movie super fast,â said lead actress Summer Bellessa of the âQuarantine Familyâ that the cast became when the movie was shot in January 2021. âThey kept us cramped the whole time. Yeah, that was fun! Remarkably, the film was completed in just twelve days.
âWe had a blast and we shot in Mesa, Arizona,â Heder said. âBut there was nothing else to do, even though there was no quarantineâ¦ Oooo, I’m burning bridges in the local news,â Heder said with a laugh. “Just kiddingâ¦ It was January, what else were we going to do?”
Bellessa interjected, âSome people call him Jon Haterâ¦ You know what I like about him is honesty. You know where you are with this guy! Joking like the brother and sister they play on screen, Heder and Bellessa had the same chemistry during their interview.
“Funny Thing About Love” follows Samantha Banks (Summer Bellessa), a successful fashion business owner, and her boyfriend Bryce Jones (Jason Gray), a promising lawyer, as they return to Summer’s parents for Thanksgiving. . Unbeknownst to Summer, her ex-boyfriend and famous stand-up comedian Luke Hudson (Kevan Moezzi) is also staying with his parents for the long vacation weekend.
As a typical vacation unfolds in the family home, the awkward arrangement of the house guests is comically overshadowed by Gray’s brilliant performance, which offers plenty of fan and geek moments that are extremely funny as he turns. mocks her famous roommate and ânew BFF.â The fact that Luke is Summer’s ex-boyfriend is entirely overshadowed by his high star status in Bryce’s mind. Although the truth always has a way out at family reunions, like in this movie.
Summer’s brother Charlie (Jon Heder) loves and supports his sister, but loves to give her a hard time in the most impassive way. Heder is simply the best when it comes to deadpan delivery with a touch of cheekiness. As Brother Charlie, the seasoned actor was so fun as an obsessed ’80s brother, and it would have been great to see him in a few more scenes.
Additional main cast includes Barry Corbin (“Northern Exposure”, “No Country for Old Men”) as Grandpa Joe and Brooke White (“Star Spangled Banners”, “Change of Plans”) as sister-in-law. and Summer Annie’s best friend. In real life, White and Bellessa are truly best friends and run the blog and web series “The Girls with Glasses” where the duo chronicle fashion, music, motherhood and more. Their best friend status is also reflected on the big screen.
The portrayal of Summer’s father, John Banks, is Pat Finn (“Seinfeld”, “The Middle”, “It’s Complicated”) whose comedic timing and affable demeanor are almost overshadowed by a touching father / daughter scene with Bellessa who has makes the crowd tear up with emotion. Those who watched in the theater also recognized Finn as “Pat the Toyota Intern”, a role he performed in television commercials and print media for over a decade. Of course, in “Funny Thing About Love”, naturally, his character drives a Toyota.
Local child actors Landen Adams and Brady Ellsworth play Banks’ sons Michael and Truman, and they were both adorable and charming in their respective roles as Michael and Truman. Bellessa and Heder are both real-life parents and have served as “permanent parents” on “Funny Thing About Love.”
âIt felt like we had ten kids in this movie, but no real responsibility for the kids,â Bellessa said with a laugh of how the cast has become one big goofball family.
âIt was great because when we were filming it felt like, ‘Oh, we’re in parenting mode, but we don’t have to worry about these kids,â Heder said with a laugh.
âAt one point when the kids weren’t listening, I completely threatened them that they wouldn’t be able to play with their iPads, but it was for a fake. Like, “I’m not their real parent, but I’m fully,” If you don’t get in shape and listen, you’re going to waste time on iPad! and they were like, ‘Whoa, what just happened?’ “
Heder added: âThey were pretty well-behaved kids. I’ll drop the hammer, even on adult co-stars! No, but these kids were awesome. We had a great time!”
Glancing seriously at Heder, Bellessa said, “The hammer has fallen on me several times.” The hammer Heder has to come down. Heder went on to say that the cast really enjoyed each other’s cheerful ribs during filming.
Bellessa ends: “We want people to watch the movie and enjoy it and all that jazz!”
The cast and crew slipped into their seats in both packed theaters at the premiere to watch the movie with fans before participating in a post-movie Q&A.
âFunny Thing About Loveâ is currently in theaters in Arizona and eight other states. It’s also available on Amazon, iTunes, Apple TV, VUDU, and Google Play. Visit www.funnythingaboutlove.com for more information.