Jaded (2013) Review: A Black Dramedy Short Film

Jaded (2013) Review: A Black Dramedy Short Film

Jaded is a 2013 short film dramedy written by Maggie Bush.This film was directed by Eugene Bush and Shebeta Carter. It involves 3 girlfriends: Mikayla, Kim and Lisa and the circumstances leading up to a main event. Everything spirals out of control when appearances are chipped away. The real stories come out during a fashion show that Mikayla (Maisha Carter) had been planning for months.

“I have a great career, a great marriage, and peace of mind", chants Mikayla at the beginning of the film. She is putting pressure on herself to have a child with her husband Sean (Keno Greer). It is their anniversary. This is becoming so frustrating for her husband. It’s true that when a couple stops trying so hard, the opportunity of conceiving a child is greater. In addition to this, Sean’s secretary, Staci (Demi Lobo) is coming on to him, but he resists. “Things aren’t always as they seem” and “The grass is always greener on the other side”. I remember looking at women who have children or who are pregnant…and wanting to have a child too or thinking “don’t they know what I’m going through?”

Sean also comes to pick up Kim (Sheree Bynum) at the beauty salon. It appears that they have something going on. Hairdressers Phoenix (Alonzo Ruffin) and Arizona (Natasha Washington) do “shop talk” and meddle in everyone’s business. Kim is also in everybody’s business, but helping to arrange Mikayla’s fashion show.

The other couple Terell (Boise Homes) and Lisa (Lorissa Julianus) are going on a trip to the islands. At first it appears that they have a good relationship. Lisa soon discovers by accident, a card from Tyrell’s mistress hidden within their bedroom. Tyrell then confronts Lisa with divorce papers and begs her to let him go. She becomes infuriated and smashes a bottle over his head.

At work, Mikayla’s client, Amos (Mark Howard) is trying to seduce her. He gives her a check for $25,000 for the fashion show and $328.29 for breaks and a tail light that needs fixing. “I’ll figure out a way you can repay me,” Amos whispers. Mikayla is flattered but doesn't take the bait.

The drama before and during the fashion show is priceless! Backstage Mikayla believes that Sean is cheating because she has put the thought in her mind. In fact, Kim was cheating with Tyrell, Lisa’s husband. Then, we discover Lisa slept with Mikayla’s client, Amos, and now she has syphilis. Oh Boy! Kim confesses that Tyrell is the father of her child and not Sean. The only people that weren’t scandalous in this whole thing was Mikayla and Sean. (I think.)

While developing characters for short, it becomes difficult to connect with the characters. I believe Maggie Bush managed to do this well. However, I tend to scowl upon shorts that have many characters because they are hard to flush out and develop relationships. It makes the audience work too hard to figure out connections. This was an entertaining piece that I could relate to, especially with the issues of wanting something and not being able to obtain it (as far as motherhood is concerned). Mikayla kept trying for a child and everywhere she turned she was confronted with the fact that she was childless. It hardly seemed as though people are sensitive to this issue in the real world or in fantasy. Spousal, partners, and friend relationships are universally complicated and these characters seemed to be no different. Meddling friends in relationships always leads to distrust and betrayal. This is why there are rules and boundaries to be discussed.

My favorite scenes were at the hair salon with Phoenix and Arizona and at the turmoil backstage at the fashion show. These two scenes stuck out because the dialogue was the strongest there and pacing was pretty good. I dug the music, but I would have preferred the song at the end of the movie, so it doesn’t get in the way of the film. A really great score would have been better throughout and song at the end. It can be tricky when trying to insert songs into a film. It doesn’t work for everybody. Overall, I thought Jaded was well written and enjoyable!

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