The short films reviewed below come courtesy of creative duo Adam Bernet and Rory Tregaskis, who produce a wide range of media, including comedic works and advertising skits. The majority of the shorts reviewed can be viewed on their website.
The first short, Tregaskis Seeks The One, aims to spoof dating videos, as well as pretentious business/media personalities, through its casting of Tregaskis as such an individual. In various scenes, we see Tregaskis practising martial arts, reading the works of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and expounding on the benefits of drinking urine. However, the listing of these attributes isn’t quite enough to make this parody work, with the short failing to do more to deconstruct the absurdities of these types of videos.
The second short, a spoof advert for Acumen Business Balm, unfortunately does little to distinguish itself from the actual adverts for real life products. The production values effectively mimic the self-serious, aspirational monochrome aesthetics of such adverts, but does nothing to parody or satirise their conventions, making this short look like more of an imitation than a parody.
Another spoof advert, this time around for Goodbooks Festive Reputation Management Services, also falls into the trap of believing that the premise alone provides sufficient comedy without exploring further opportunities for jokes. This is an improvement on the Acumen Business Balm advert, mostly because it acknowledges the absurd premise of hiring a PR management service for the purposes of avoiding getting on Santa’s naughty list. However, the advert also doesn’t do enough with the premise for it to really be effective. Some additional references to taking control of customers’ social media accounts and a darker comedic tone could have effectively satirised the lax privacy regulations of social media platforms, but instead, these opportunities are overlooked in favour of more broadly comedic gags.
The final collection of shorts, titled Vegetables, is the most effective of those reviewed, with its overly-verbose odes to respective vegetables (broccoli, aubergine and tomato) making excellent use of vivid descriptions for each individual vegetable that provide each film with a tone of comedic absurdity. If Bernet Tregaskis pursue this type of comedy instead of plugging on with paper-thin parodies, then their later films should be more effectively funny. As it is, this anthology of films largely come across as a series of comedic missed opportunities.