Holloman (Daniel Arnold) is a credit collector for a department store, and his life is going nowhere. In his briefcase, he carries his boring lunch, and a handgun, and he’s ready to end it all. On his way out of work, he runs into Lawrence (Ben Cotton), a suit salesman with an overly optimistic outlook on life. Lawrence decides to try to help Holloman, and show him that he only has to remain positive to change his life. When a string of bad luck hits Lawrence, his optimism and positivity is put to the test.
Directed by Matthew Kowalchuk, who also co-wrote the film with star Daniel Arnold, Lawrence & Holloman is an hilariously dark comedy. It almost seems like an extended sketch from The Kids in the Hall, with a slice of Monty Python thrown in, as it has the same kind of absurd humour. It’s not very often that arson, a crumbling marriage, and a leg amputation is the basis for laughs. You get all that, and much more, with Lawrence & Holloman.
Based on a play by Morris Panych, the film never feels like it’s been adapted at all. Normally, a film based on a play tends to feel limited in locations, which is the complete opposite here. It’s still very dialogue driven though, which works perfectly the more that Lawrence is allowed to speak. He’s constantly misusing words or phrases, which sets Holloman off every time. The relationship that builds between the two characters is hilarious, and watching Lawrence try to teach Holloman how to be optimistic is a slice of insanity.
Daniel Arnold and Ben Cotton are perfect in their roles. Holloman is the extreme edge of pessimism, while Lawrence is the opposite end of the spectrum. Generally, people will normally land somewhere in the middle, so both characters are easy to identify, and empathize, with. You can’t hate either of them, but it can be a challenge to love them as well. Also appearing in a smaller role, is Katharine Isabelle, as Zooey. Although her character is only given a small amount of screen time, she’s a large part of the reason that Lawrence wants to help Holloman, who has a crush on her. She makes the most of her time, as Zooey is an incredibly attractive, but ultimately awkward woman, who should be the perfect match for Holloman.