Undatement Center

Rated: Not Rated

        What if dating was a business-and no, I’m not talking about escort services, or prostitution. What I mean is, what if, before going on a date with someone you were required to provide your resume, complete dating history, and maybe even a urine sample? Would you do it if it ensured that the odds against getting your heart trampled would be better?
        This odd scenario is the premise behind
Undatement Center, the latest short film from Chris Esper and his company Stories in Motion. The film is about Jack, a twenty-something man who’s been out of the dating game for a long time. Unsure of how to jump back in, Jack heads to Undatement Center, a business whose focus is to make dating someone more professional interview, and less guess work. 
        Having never used any of the most recent incarnations of this concept- Match.com, E-Harmony, etc-I’m not sure how efficient they are, and if the relationships that blossom out of their use truly last. Because of that, I haven’t had to give them much thought; but after seeing
Undatement Center it dawned on me that many of them are heading in the “professional interview” direction. I’ve even heard that many millennials will or won’t date someone based on the person’s credit score alone. I agree that credit worthiness a good thing to keep in mind as you’re looking for “that special someone” and planning your future, but that seems extreme to me.
        But, current dating trends aside, and back to the film itself…

        As is the case with all short films, there isn’t sufficient time for a deep backstory, which is the only thing I felt was missing here. There is no explanation of how Jack came to find, or be at Undatement Center.  I think the addition of a scene in the beginning showing him driving by the building, or calling them to set up an appointment would explain this nicely and only add about 30 seconds tops, but I’m not the filmmaker, and that’s not my decision.
        That is my only complaint about this film. Perhaps Chris left out the explanation of
how Jack got there because it really doesn’t matter-what matters is that he got there and is moving forward. Chris had this to say of the film, “I see it as a cautionary tale for what sites like E-Harmony or Match could, or are becoming. I feel as though we're losing the human connection in favor of superficial details and quick results,” he said.
        Perhaps that’s the best way to describe what this film is about: It’s a lighthearted take on if interactions on dating sites happened in real life, person to person. It’s an uncommon take on a common occurrence: dating. The more I think about it, the more the film illustrates just how cold and sterile such interactions can be when made through dating sites. Maybe it’s time we all put down the devices for a while and actually interact face to face. Of course, you shouldn’t do that until you’ve seen the superb
Undatement Center!

Undatement Center is not rated, was written and directed by Chris Esper and stars Trevor Duke and J.D. Achille. It’s currently making the film festival rounds. For more information about Undatement Center and Chris Esper click here:

  • Undatement Center on IMDB
  • Chris Esper on IMDB