Ben and Anna have been dating for two years and Ben is ready to pop the question. We see this very clearly within the first few moments of the short film Brain Engagement, a short romantic comedy directed by Patrick Neff. How Ben, played by Brennen Thompson, plans on accomplishing this goal is not so clear. Anna, played by Kristin Mellian, certainly seems interested in starting a life together. Ben can’t be for certain, however, until he finally asks “Will you marry me?”. He only has his heart and emotions to talk to. A heart and emotions that get angry, crack jokes, problem solve, and celebrate. It’s almost as if the emotions were real people themselves…
Brain Engagement was a joy to watch from start to finish. Being a Rom/Com this film had two aspects to focus on. It needs a relationship the viewer wants to root for and enjoyable, well written humor. Brain Engagement absolutely nails both. As Ben goes through his journey throughout the film you feel all the emotions that he is feeling, which makes the ending all the more meaningful. The moments of levity are also amazing with great jokes that are cleverly written and engaging to the story. Relatability and comedy combine together perfectly in Brain Engagement and that gives the film a lot of heart.
My one criticism of Brain Engagement is that, while it’s plot is perfect in execution, it’s lacking in originality. Not giving away any spoilers, I would have to say that I’ve seen this plot device used in comedy’s and animated features in the past. It’s a only minor criticism because of what Brain Engagement manages to do. In roughly 15 minutes Brain Engagement has more laughs, love, and charm then some other movies have with a full length runtime.
Brain Engagement does what I feel every short film should try to carry out. It gets the viewer excited about what they just watched, but also leaves them wanting more content in the same universe. More of the continued relationship between Ben and Anna, and more of Ben’s hilarious internal emotional struggles.
I give Brain Engagement 6 out of 6 reels.