Director Foster Wilson, along with writer Brian Leahy, has created a sharply witty, caustic and engaging comedy about the strange, irresistible impulse to share intimate thoughts and private dilemmas with anyone but the person you need to talk to most. Here, the third party is the general public, enabled by social media, which allows strangers to weigh in on a very intimate, emotional question for the groom at an unprecedented scale, adding a resolutely modern twist to the age-old trope of a groom having cold feet just as he’s about to tie the knot for life.
The film’s strength rests on the foundation of its excellent writing, which blends smart, sharp-edged dialogue and well-observed social insights about how we conduct our lives in the era of constant sharing, likes and polls.
There are plenty of zingers and quips in the dialogue, but they’re given pace and shape by nimble, quicksilver directing, particularly in the kinetic camerawork, which adds cinematic flair and underscores the almost farcical nature of Dave’s situations.
The storytelling never really quite falls into farce, however, thanks to emotionally grounded performances by actors Jeanine Mason as Sydney and Josh Zuckerman as Dave. While both can deliver comedic moments with great timing and perfectly arch or deadpan delivery, they also play believable people having a believable emotional crisis. Mason nails Sydney’s fury, delving into how anger masks a clear sense of hurt, pain and sadness at the idea of Dave having doubts, while Zuckerman plays Dave’s doubts and fears with honesty.
Both are relatable characters, which makes the final movement of “Made Public” that much more engaging and even heartfelt. It’s a conversation that Dave and Sydney clearly needed to have before the wedding, and the fact that it’s happening just before the ceremony in front of a huge audience adds both stomach-churning anxiety and awkward comedy to its unraveling. But when they get through the other side, there is genuine vulnerability, honesty and intimacy, giving both Sydney and Dave a chance to love and care for one another — and a stronger foundation to build a loving, lasting marriage upon.