Vacations allow couples to escape their day-to-day routines, which is all well and good so long as these routines aren’t keeping said couples together. Therein lies the problem for the three couples—one gay, one lesbian, and one straight—in director William Sullivan’s improvised romantic comedy That’s Not Us. Their problems are relatively mild: not enough sex; having nothing other than sex; the prospect of being separated by grad school. During a weekend in a cabin on Fire Island, however, there is little for these pairs to focus on other than their problems. Clearly they should have packed more beach reading.
That’s Not Us uses its vacation setting as a sort of relationship horror show. There is no possibility of escape. The traditional vacation refrain of “Are we there yet?” gives way to a silent “Is it time to go home?” Once raised, issues fester. In that respect, That’s Not Us is well served by its improvised dialogue. Instead of building towards neat conclusions, its scenes amble onwards. Resolution will come in its own time.
There is not all that much to That’s Not Us. It is a story of small arguments amongst relatively privileged individuals that does not pretend to be about much more. Sullivan wisely avoids drawing too many overt parallels between the three couples. Suffice it to say that no matter whom you love, you can have mundane difficulties. Weightless though it may be, That’s Not Us is charmingly filmed and inescapably endearing. That is more than enough.