An intriguing premise and a great cast are the high point of XX/XY. Unfortunately, neither the story nor the cast manages to reach their full potential, and a lot of what could have been is quickly lost. Despite its flaws, however, XX/XY still manages to entertain. It's a light and fluffy attempt at serious drama, bogged down by numerous scenes of our love triangle engaging in a threesome. Overall, it manages to succeed.
Kathleen Robertson gives her usual performance (playing a similar character she portrayed in another film about a threesome, Greg Arakki's far superior SPLENDOR) but she's pretty darn good. There is definitely something about her that manages to brighten up a scene. She has such charisma and a charming personality, but unfortunately, her character is lost underneath the drama of the other two in love. I would have loved to have seen more done with her character.
Mark Ruffallo is Coles, a former director with only one film to his credit, who is now a commercial artist. Maya Stange is Sam, the woman in the threesome he ultimately falls for. The three form an inseparable social group, doomed perhaps by their omnipresent sexual tension. Of course, things don't go as planned and their relationship quickly spirals out of control until its destruction.
But 10 years later, with Coles now engaged, a chance encounter with Sam ignites old feelings and changes everything.
XX/XY is that rare film where we grow to genuinely care about the characters. Their romantic troubles are portrayed with a refreshing, open honesty missing from most Hollywood films. The incisive acting of Ruffalo, Robertson and Stange convincingly makes the point that these still-young males and females are just as stunted and confused as the rest of us.
XX/XY starts in the comfortingly familiar territory of out of control college kids, but writer/director Austin Chick has the confidence to push on and navigate the uncharted waters of reaching middle age. It all works well, aside from the fact that ten years later, these characters still look the same, maybe even better! However, the film itself is a great diversion from all the horrible films Hollywood throws our way, but definitely not for all tastes. This is a true independent film--dark, dreary, and slow, but fascinating and intriguing at the same time. There are better films out there, but hell, there have been a lot worse.