Tahir Jetter’s first feature film How To Tell You’re A Douchebag is out on iTunes for rental and purchase today! The film premiered last January at the Sundance Film Festival.
Full disclosure. I met Tahir Jetter when he first came to Sundance in 2011 with his short film Close. We were sitting next to each other at the midnight showing of Martha Marcy May Marlene (man that movie is weird!). We struck up a conversation that four years later led to us investing in Tahir’s debut feature film How To Tell You’re A Douchebag. I’m biased, but for a very limited budget, I thought it was great. Here’s a balanced .
Ray Livingston (Charles Brice) is a blogger (Occasionally Dating Black Women) and plays the field — dating multiple women at once. He confronts a woman on the street, and she gives him the dressing down of his life, calling him out as a douchebag.
His friend Jake (William Jackson Harper) tells him the woman he just accosted is none other than Rochelle Marseilles (DeWanda Wise), a famous writer for Mahogany. Ray tries to apologize, but puts his foot in his mouth yet again as he blogs while drunk. But the sparks have been flying between the two. Rochelle agrees to go out with him, and they have a wonderful weekend together.
Then Rochelle has brunch with her girlfriends and meets Yasmin (Jenna Williams), who had been dating Ray. Ray doesn’t understand when Rochelle doesn’t want to see him again — why didn’t she feel the magic he did?
Charles Brice is fantastic as Ray — he’s a jerk, but a very charming one! Dewanda Wise is an arrogant and flawed Rochelle — she may seem to have her act together, but the relationship misfire is not all on Ray. The highlight of the film is the supporting players, Jenna Williams as Yasmin, Alexander Mulzac as Rochelle’s boyfriend Paul, and especially William Jackson Harper as Ray’s friend Jake.
The film has its limitations because it was filmed on a shoestring budget. Ray’s apartment is Tahir’s actual apartment, and they had a a tight shooting schedule. But it’s still a very enjoyable romantic comedy, the kind of film that is simply rarely being made today. More importantly it’s an African-American romantic comedy set in Brooklyn, something even rarer.
Tahir Jetter, the writer/director, did a fun interview at Sundance that talks about how he came up with the idea for the film and its somewhat autobiographical nature:
I’m really excited to see William Jackson Harper who plays Ray’s best friend Jake in the upcoming NBC comedy The Good Place with Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. He had some of the best comedic lines in How To Tell You’re A Douchebag, and he’s so funny in it!
DeWanda Wise who plays Rochelle can be seen in the upcoming Fox drama series Shots Fired: