SXSW Review: The Unicorn


The romantic comedy is a genre that will never die, but often seems like it should as trite and redundant films are released over and over again. Thankfully, every once in a while something a bit more charming comes along and makes you enjoy the genre again. There is good stuff to be found out there when funny meets romance.

The Unicorn is some of that good stuff.

The Unicorn
Director: Robert Schwartzman
Release Date: TBD
Rated: TBD

The Unicorn is far more about a fully developed relationship than your standard romantic comedy of boy meets girl. Malory (Lauren Lapkus) and Caleb (Nicholas Rutherford) have been engaged for four years, constantly pushing back their wedding date for one reason or another. The couple is in a rut, so when they find out that Malory’s parents have threesomes it triggers a chain of events of them attempting to have one themselves. Half rom-com and half The Hangover, the film takes place over the one wild night of the two of them attempting to find their unicorn.

It’s not a complex setup really, and the film plays more for humor than a look at sexuality in a relationship, but that’s OK. It is utterly charming, with a screenplay that relies on wit and dialog to get laughs over sight gags and gross out comedy. The kind of indy comedy charm you’d expect out of an indy comedy is here in spades, and delivers on both the charm and comedy.

Lapkus and Rutherford play off each other wonderfully, delivering banter back and forth like an actual couple. Much of the humor lands because they work so well together. Lapkus is especially a revelation, delivering comic and dramatic performances that make you wan to see her playing leading roles far more regularly. Hopefully the film gains some traction because it would definitely launch her into bigger things, and she can ditch the “that girl from Orange is the New Black” moniker. 

The movie’s dramatic turns also hit as well, with the predictable explosion over having a threesome landing especially well as everything falls apart. Sadly, the end of the film loses the movie’s momentum. Once the wild night is over and the movie starts wrapping up a few too many tropes start to come out so that everything can end as it should. The humor starts to get a bit too situational, and the connection between the two characters — so well established in the rest of film — becomes far more generic. That doesn’t make it bad, and it’s OK to be generic sometimes, but it does stand in contrast to the rest of the movie. 

Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flixist. He has worked as a critic for more than a decade, reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.